The Glory of God

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Why does God need Glory?”  I used to because I would hear phrases like “for the glory of God” or “praise God” and so forth.  It sounded like God needed some glory for some reason.  This was because my understanding about glory was wrong.  I thought that glory was a lot like a compliment or praise.  I did not know that glory was inherent and radiated out from within.  It was always there but was not seen.  It’s like an uncut diamond that looks like just another rock.  The beauty of the cut diamond was always present in the uncut diamond but was not appreciated because it’s many facets were not exposed.  It’s ‘glory’ remained unknown until the diamond cutter exposed it.  So it is with God, His glory (beauty, wonder, love, power, forgiveness, etc.) is not appreciated because we only see God from one or maybe even a few perspectives.  We need to see God from His infinitely faceted perspectives.  The more we know God, the greater we perceive His glory.  It was always there but it remained hidden until it was exposed to us.

Glory is not recognition for greatness, but greatness beyond our recognition.  The glory of God always has been the same.  It doesn’t become more just because we discover another facet of it.  You do not not increase His glory when you praise Him, either.  God is not trying to gain recognition, but rather He desires us to know Him for who He is, and not some shallower concept of Him.

If it were possible to know God as He really is; we would see the entirety of His glory.  Should that happen in our natural state it would kill us.  Remember what He told Moses, Ex 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.  It is not that God didn’t want us to know Him as He is, but He wanted to preserve man so that he could be transformed in such a way that he could see God, face to face.

This transformation takes a lifetime but there are times when we draw closer than we have ever been before.  At these times we are transformed to be more than we were before.  Remember what happened to Moses after he was hidden in the cleft of the rock as God passed by. Ex 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.   His face shone so bright that he had to wear a vail on his face while he talked with Aaron and the rulers of the congregation.  Ex 34:33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.  

We have to grow in our grace and knowledge of the Lord.   2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.  Furthermore, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can “experience” a right understanding of God’s will.  Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  

By the time God has finished His work on us, we will be like him in His image, likeness and dominion: (Gen 1:26)  we will be sanctified in body (a new body), soul (new mind and way of thinking) and spirit (indwelling of the Holy Spirit) (I Thess 5:23).  1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Reconnecting

Lots of people have a bad day but ever so often we have a wonderful day.  Yesterday was one of those special days for me.  Our Sunday School class went quite well (except for not having enough time – we never do).  Then the Message was good as well.  Lunch included my oldest son and his family which we always enjoy.  Then my favorite football team won its second game.  The highlight came when I was able to reconnect with on of my ‘preacher boys’ that I had lost track of several years ago.  His name is Adam and he is Jewish.  I was privileged to be present when he surrendered to the Lord Jesus as his Messiah.  Later, he answered the call to preach and then went on to get his schooling.

I was able to attend his graduation when he got his bachelors degree.  He then attended a special school to work with Jews and then after finishing that school, he went on to Southern Seminary.  While he was at seminary is when I lost contact with him.  I tried to reconnect many times but was never able to do so.  Yesterday that connection was made and it was as though no time had passed, though it had been about 20 years.  We talked for over an hour and shared some of the events of that time.  He has remained solid in his commitment to the Lord, even though he has had some rough times.  He has seen his mother, his dad, his brother, his sister and his 13 year old adopted daughter all come to the Lord.  His dad was an orthodox Jew and that took some work for him to come to know his Messiah.

I share this with you as a point of personal Joy.  Today I am ridding on cloud nine.  It fills a hollow spot that was left when I lost contact.  That spot was filled when we were able to reconnect and restore our fellowship.  There is a passage of Scripture in Luke15:8-10  Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?  And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.  This story of similar context points out that there is joy in the presence of the angles of God over the restored relationship.  Notice that it does not say that the angles are the ones who are doing the rejoicing, but that there is joy in their presence.  I take that to mean that the one doing the rejoicing is God, Himself who is rejoicing in their presence.  If that is true then God has joy and it is produced by even one who will turn back to Him, repenting of their sin.

God knew us from before He laid the foundation of the world (Creation).  We were brought into this world under the curse of sin and alienated from God.  God rejoices when one turns his back on sin and comes back to Him.  At that point God secures him by sealing him with the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes he gets entangled with the world  and looses his way ahead.  If he will listen to the Holy Spirit, He will guide him back to the Lord and that joy will once again be restored.

Purpose Phrases

As I study the Scriptures, I have come to notice certain statements that I term “Purpose Phrases“.  These are phrases that define the ‘why’ of a passage.   One such passage is found in I Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These Purpose Phrases often begin with the word ‘that’ and invariably reveal the answer to an oft ask question.  I couple them together with other similar passages and have found some amazing revelations.

Let me illustrate this phrase, “that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” in the above verse.   Other passages include;

  • Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
  • Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
  •  Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 
  • Colossians  1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  
  • 1Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.  
  • 1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  
  • Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  
  • Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless  before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  

These do not encompass the whole of the idea but they illustrate my point.  When I was first saved I was told that we should try to be like Jesus, but then they added, of course we will never make it.  That left me thinking, then why try.  I have since learned by a careful study of the Scripture that we will make it.  God will deliver us without blame before Him in love.  I am not talking about sinless perfection in this world but of the final results of God’s work on us and how we will arrive in glory.  God is going to make good His promise to deliver us a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  We are going to make it!

 

Tending Fire

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I had the privilege of growing up in a very depressed area in Southern Missouri during the post WW II era.  I was privileged because I got to see first hand, what it was like to live without modern conveniences.  We didn’t even have a radio (battery) until I was 5 years old.  When I was 7 we got electricity.  We drew our water from a well and raised our own food.  We never had indoor plumbing until we moved to Colorado when I was 10.  These are things that most of Americans have never experienced, except for short periods of time, but it was our life style.

One of my memories is that of our one heating stove in the living room.  The fuel was wood which we cut from the stand of trees along the back of our property.  I learned about the importance of keeping the fire going at a very early age as it was our only source of heat during the winter.  Our house was not insulated so keeping the fire going was a constant need.  My chores included keeping  plenty of wood stacked on the porch for easy access, and carrying the ashes out every morning.  I learned a lot about what it takes to start and maintain a fire to keep warm.

Today’s post deals only with maintaining a fire once it is going.  The first thing that I learned was that you need a bed of coals.  This will enable the wood to catch fire as it is being added as it raises the temperature to assist in ignition.  If the wood is wet, it will dry it out.  It is a bridge between the wood and the flame.  A bed of coals begins with dry tender and then you add kindling (small pieces of wood or paper) to gets the fire going.  Because it is very dry and has a lot of surface area, it burns fast and hot which kindles the larger wood into flame.  The bed of coals is the wood that is already burning and its flame enables the larger wood to catch fire, just as the leadership in a church helps the new member to find their place of service in the fellowship.

Keeping the fire going is called “tending the fire“.  As the fire burns it needs “Stoked” from time to time.  Stoking the fire is moving the logs closer together so that they will burn better.  As a fire burns, the space between the logs gets larger and the benefit of one log helping another burn becomes less so that the fire will die down and produce less heat.  By stoking the fire you move the logs closer together and the fire will burn hotter.  Because change is constant, there will always be a need for stoking the fellowship to enhance it’s effectiveness.  We used to do this with periodic revival meetings, mission conferences and other such efforts but in today’s society we have moved further apart and hardly even know the other members. Unless this is corrected, the fire will die out and the church will be left cold. The fire needs stoked more now than it ever did before and as we approach the coming of the Lord it will become even more important.

The story is told about a church who had a member who had begun to attend less and less so the pastor dropped by one day to visit him.  The two of them sat by the fire and never spoke but after a while the pastor got up and went to the fire and pulled one of the sticks of wood out of the fire but let it set on the edge of the opening, by itself.  Pretty soon the flame that was going so well when it was first removed, began to lessen until it finally died out completely.  After a few minutes the pastor got up to leave without ever saying anything.  As he got to the door, the man said to the pastor, I got the message and I will be in church this Sunday.  People who know how to tend fire, know how to be the live coal to rekindle the flame in others.

Preparation

When thinking about what goes into making a trip all it can be, I think that preparation is one of the most important things you can do.  It will enhance your trip in many ways; it will expand it, it will enrich it, it will extend it, it will enable it and it will preserve it.

In planning for my trip to China, I have already begun to experience it in many ways.  First, I have had to plan where and when I was going.  Since I am going with others there was the necessity of coordinating all our schedules and finding a time that would fit all of us.  Then there was the destination.  In this case, I will be traveling with the others for much of the journey, but then I will be separated from the others for several days and traveling alone to a place that I have never been.  That can be daunting to some and exhilarating to others.  In my case it is some of both.  Fortunately, I will be meeting with someone I know and He knows the place, customs, etc.  I will literally be in his hands.

Then there is the securing of my passport (which I already have), the visa (which came in last week, and the plane tickets which have been purchased.  These are extremely important as they allow access to this part of the world and determine a lot of your schedule.

Another thing I have done is read up on the places that you will visit and the customs and culture that you will be experiencing.  The more you know about your destination, the more that you will enrich the experience.  It was enlightening to discover some of the history and current activities where I will be going.  One highlight for me is that my destination grows some of the greatest produce in China.  Since I have a lot of experience in produce (both growing and eating which I love), this will be a treat for me to taste some of God’s treats that I have never had the opportunity to enjoy before.

Planning on what you will take with you is also important.  What you will wear will be affected by the climate you will be in and the customs of the people.  Things that you will need like medicine, personal items (make a list and update it regularly), and things that may not be available there that you have need of.  Preserving your experience is also important.  Your camera, pencil and paper, gifts, etc  Think it through and then rethink it again.  Don’t fret about it but your anticipation will enhance the actual experience.  It will also give you a sense of preparedness that will allow you to enjoy the trip to the fullest.

One of the things that I am looking forward to is the actual flight.  I will be flying nonstop to Seoul, Korea, then an hour and 10 minute layover, then another nonstop flight to Guangzhou, China (near Hong Kong), an overnight layover and then on to my final destination (another 5-6 hour flight).  Altogether it will be about 24 hours flight time plus layovers.  So who in his right mind would be looking forward to such a grueling flight.  Me, of course.  I have the choice to suffer through it or turn it into an experience that will be of benefit. I simple made the choice to not suffer but to allow myself to be stretched to the point that I will be able to contain the blessing God is giving me.  It is a choice, you know, so I plan to spend some time getting to know those with whom I travel with.  I plan to do some exercising on the plane so that my legs don’t develop problems that you get on long flights.  I also plan to watch the terrain and the people to notice the changes in the land we fly over and to pick up on anything that will help me once I get there.  I plan to do some writing while in flight and anything else that will keep my mind occupied.  When I have exhausted all other avenues, I may even get some sleep – though it is hard for me to sleep on a plane.

We all have a trip ahead of us that these thoughts could help us prepare for – from here to eternity.  We should secure the proper credentials (salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ).  The trip won’t take long (a moment, in the twinkling of an eye) so we won’t have to fill time because time will be no more.  There are some things that we will want to take, such as our works of faith, our testimony, our hope, our eternal body, etc. that we will need when we get home.  We should study the Word of God to teach us about our final destination to make our arrival even more enriching.  It will help us to understand what is happening.  We won’t need to pack because we will be given a robe of righteousness that will never wear out and everything will be ours to serve our Lord with.  There will be no more sorrow or tears and all will be glorious.  Don’t you want to meet me there?  All aboard!!!

 

 

His Keeping

Having spent many years in the construction industry, I have faced many very dangerous situations.  One thing I learned is the importance of safety equipment and procedures.  There is one piece of safety equipment that I am particularly fond of and that is the safety harness.  It is a piece of equipment that will keep you from falling even if you loose your grip or even consciousness.  It has one job and that is to restrain you from falling.  The reason that it is so effective is that it is strapped onto you and holds you within it’s confines.  You are dependent on it and it is not dependent on you.

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

So many times I hear people ask the question, “How do I keep from falling away from God?”  A similar question is, “How do I keep from sinning?”  Another is, “How do I keep on the straight and narrow?”  These questions have some thing in common that reveal the real problem.  First, they all begin with the phrase, “How do I …?”  We humans like to be in control and think that our success is dependent upon us.  Though there are some things that we are responsible for,  our keeping is not one of them.  Your effort to deliver yourself is a waste of time.  Your holding on to God is as futile as willing the sun to not rise in the morning.  Try as you may, you just cannot do it.  It is a humbling thing to realize that you are totally dependent upon God to deliver you and to keep you from falling.  It is His hold on you and not your hold on Him that is certain.  Your grip can be broken, but not His.  You are as secure as God, Himself is secure.

But not only is His grip secure, but He is the one who will present you to the Father, faultless.   Did you get that?  He will not only get you there but will deliver you there without a fault.  If you need cleaning up, His blood washes as white as snow;  if you owe debts, He paid it all;  if you have bad language or bad thoughts, He gives you a new heart and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  You are His workmanship and God don’t make no junk.

It is not a burden to the Lord to make such an investment in you.  Our verse testifies that He does it with exceeding joy.     Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  He doesn’t hold back either.  He desires to give you the whole kingdom.   Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  All good and perfect gifts come from Him.  He loves doing for you because He loves you and values you above all of creation.

The keeping is His part, the believing and trusting is your part.  Just do your part.

How Can I Know God?

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

When Moses had the encounter with God at the burning bush, God sent him to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery and into the promised land.  Moses asked God, whom shall I say sent me?  God’s answer is found in Exodus 3:14 (above).  That sounds like a strange name, but it isn’t a name at all, it is an attribute of God.

The purpose of a name is to distinguish one person from another, but in God’s case, there is no other to contrast Him with.   Psalms 113:5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high  Jer 10:6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.  Anytime you find His attributes it is always Him and no other so a name is not needed.  If you want to know God then you must discover what He is like.  Even when you find a name of God, such as Jehovah Jireh “The Lord Will Provide”; it describes something about God rather than a distinguishing name.  God is distinguished because of His attributes and not by His name.

One of the problems is that we try to picture God as a being like we are, limited by time and space.  He is not like us and therefore does not have the same limitations.  He does not act or react as we do.  Take His response of I AM THAT I AM”, and notice that God revealed something of Himself that is unique only to Him, that He is eternal.  He exists outside of time.  He is present in the past, as well as present now and is present in the future.  Also notice that if He is always existent throughout time, so He never changes, which is what we find in the scriptures.  Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.  Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

God is always revealing Himself to man but man has great difficulty understanding God who is past finding out.  You cannot exhaust the limits of God because He has no limits.   Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  Though you cannot exhaust His ways, you can begin to grow in your understanding.  It is something like a baby knowing its mother.  It begins with instincts but those instincts are enhanced by experiences, then by knowledge and further on by understanding and so forth.  So also we know God in a graduated way and the more we come to know Him the greater our understanding of Him becomes.  I was 10 years old when we moved to Colorado, from Missouri.  My parents told me about the mountains and I had actually been there when I was about three but my memory and knowledge was so little that I didn’t have a good concept of them.  As we approached Colorado, we began looking for them and even wondered what they were like.  Finally, dad pointed them out in the distance.  They were so small on the horizon that I was unimpressed.  I wondered why all the fuss.  But then a strange thing happened, they began to grow.  At least they seemed to grow and reached higher into the sky.  This continued until we were driving in the mountains and they had become so large that I couldn’t comprehend how big they really were.  Of course they didn’t really grow, they were the same size all the time but my perspective continued to change, the closer I got.  The same thing is true about God.  The closer to Him you get the greater He appears.  The truth is that He never changes but our perspective of Him does.  James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Blameless

1 Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blameless is not the same as guiltless.  It is not the same as sinless either.  Other words with a similar meaning and are sometimes used interchangeably, but wrongly  are:  forgiven, sinless perfection, righteous, to name a few.  If we are to properly understand and teach the Word of God correctly, we must understand the relationships of these words and their specific meanings.  Lets look at the similarities and the differences of these words.

Guiltless:  means literally without guilt, innocent.  Having no knowledge or experience.  Since the Scripture is clear that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, this word does not describe any of us, in fact, of no one other than Jesus, Himself.  The fact that our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus and that He has made full payment of our sins can never remove the fact of our sin.  In other words, reverse history and remove the act from ever happening so that we are not guilty.  Even though we are forgiven, it does not remove our guilt.  We are all guilty of sin, but there is good news.

Sinless:  This word is not so easy to explain as the previous  word.  In it’s simplest form it means ‘without sin’.  There is another sense that the word is used in the Scriptures and that is ‘without chargeable sin’.  That is sin that has been committed but has been paid for and is no longer chargeable to the one who committed the sin.  Once the sin has been paid for, it is no longer charged to the individual and he is therefore without sin that needs to be paid for.  Please note that the payment (wages earned) for sin, is death.

Forgiven:  When sin is forgiven it means that the payment was paid by another.  To forgive will cost you something and death is the only payment for sin.  This price was paid by Jesus when He died on the cross for all sin, past, present, and future.  Yet it is not appropriated until it is confronted, confessed and concluded.  The woman at the well who was caught in the act of adultery, faced her accusers and then was sent away with the instruction to sin no more.  It is one things to feel the guilt of your actions.  Yet, without confession (that is to take ownership of your own guilt) the heart has not been transformed and it will be repeated time and time again.  The stubborn will must be subdued.  The conduct will remain unchanged until this happens.

Sinless Perfection:  is a false doctrine and cannot be validated either by Scripture or by reason.  Consider a gallon of poison.  If you add a gallon of pure water, it is still poison, just not as strong.  No matter how much pure water you add, you have not neutralized the poison and it remains.  You do not purify a substance by only adding nonpoisonous substance.  The poison must be eradicated. The Scripture states that without the shedding of blood (death) there is no remission.  Therefore we can never get good enough that our sin becomes of no count.

Righteous:   A right heart produces right actions.  A righteous  person is one who operates out of a right heart and a right spirit.  To be righteous is to be on the side of what is right.  The Scripture states that there is none good but God, therefore to be righteous is to have a heart and spirit that acts with God and not the spirit of this world of sin.  It is not to be understood as one who is perfect but on who endeavors to follow after rightness.  Whenever one gets off the right path, he make a course correction to align himself anew with God.

Blameless:  I love this word because it holds all of the possibilities of God’s favor and promise.  It means simply that my sin account has been drained and there is not a single sin remaining in my account that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus.  It does not mean that my guilt didn’t happen.  Nor, does it mean that the degree of my sin  is so great that the blood of Jesus won’t clean it.  It means that in spite of my guilt, I have the only remedy for sin and that brings hope and promise to know that I will be accepted into the family of God as His child.  Take a look as some of these scriptures with the view of being blameless.

Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

1 Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

When trials Come

It has been a few days since I last posted so I want to offer you an explanation.  My schedule ihas been quite full with the Senior Adult Bible Conference,just completed along with the upcoming events such as out of town guest coming, the visa application that I just got off on Saturday and a trip to North Carolina which I am currently at.  It is .5:05 AM on Tuesday.  The trip began on Sunday when we were scheduled to leave Dallas at 8:20 PM but never left until 9:00 PM.  The flight was good but there was a heavy thunderstorm when we got to Raleigh, NC and we had to circle for 45 minutes while waiting to find a time we could land.  Then after we landed we had to wait on the plane for another 45 minutes until  the lightening stopped so we could  d board and then wait some more for our luggage.  In short, we got to bed around 3:00 AM.  Then it was the day of figuring out how to tie in two roofs that were at odd angles to each other and at two different elevations.

Isn’t that just like life,  all our plans are frustrated and then we are pushed to our limits.  I am happy to report that we never let it control us so that we forgot who is in charge.  I am thinking of Jonah.  He was directed to go to Nineveh, but made plans to go the other direction and wound up in the belly of a whale for three days and nights.  Have you ever wondered what Jonah was thinking while he was there in the fish’s belly?  If he were in today’s world he might of thought, how did I get in such a mess.  There was no warning about the upcoming whether change that messed up the voyage.  Then there was that crew that tossed me into the sea.  You’d think they would have had more compassion for me and my needs.  And if that wasn’t enough, instead of my needs being met, I wound up being breakfast for this huge fish.  He must really be desperate, mixing me up with all of this sea weed.  You see, Jonah was thinking of himself instead of his responsibility and God’s plan.  Sometimes things go wrong because God is trying to turn us to the right direction.  That wasn’t the problem for us so why would it be so difficult.

Another reason that things can get messed up is that God is developing our faith.  That is an ongoing work of the Lord.  We need to know that no matter how impossible the circumstances become, our God is bigger than the problems are.  So much of the time, we slip into the thinking that this situation is too big for God.  We forget that He who made all that is, is the same one who reign over all that is and He has the power to change anything.  I am sure that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednrgo gained a new perspective about God’s power.  God is greater than the laws of nature.  When you are walking with Him, even the laws of nature must bow to His authority.

A third reason that things may not go as planned is that God is using you to illustrate to others who are watching, how a Christian should act under pressure.  Sometimes we do a good job and sometimes we don’t.  In this situation I am not sure why the situation was so difficult but I am seeing some things.  On the first day of our work here, I have been impressed at how God has guided each thing we have attempted.  It seems that the ability to see through the complexity of the situation has been over powered by God and we have been able to make the very difficult cuts that established the beams, on which everything sets.  This reminds me to make sure the foundation because the superstructure works right, only if the foundation is right.  By following God’s plan, I have always found that anything and everything that was needed, has been provided.  Even to the extent of adequate rest.  I am amazed how well I have made it without adequate rest.  Then last night I just ran out of energy and was in bed by 8:30 but then awoke this morning at 4:05, rested and ready for the day.  Now I have time to meet with the Lord and even write this blog.

To sum this up:  sometimes things get messed up to get us in line with the Lord; sometimes they  become difficult as God is working on us; and sometimes trials are ours so that God can use us.  Really it is not so important that we see the why, as much as it is that we simply trust Him and know that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted  to Him:  and that is me.

Thinking of Eternity

I was just thinking of God and what it will be like when we stand before Him in Eternity.  I have heard a thousand thoughts of what others think it will be like.  Some think that they will still be in charge of something and will ask God their deepest questions about why did He  —-?  Others have the idea that Eternity will be linear, like it is here and our existence will be much the same.  (Example: Ten thousand year)  Another idea is that all our loved ones will meet us there and they will be much the same but just stop growing old.  One of the most popular is that it is”a better place”, without any explanation as to what that means.  Many understand that there will be no more pain and sorrow but do not understand why.  Most think that there will be memories and even regrets of what could have been but never was.  Sadly, most of our concepts are just wild guesses, carried out to several decimal places or just simply figments of our imagination.

The Bible gives us many clues as to what it will be like but they are meaningless until they are seen through the eyes of faith and the record of God’s Word.  Last week, I preached a message out of John 6, entitled I AM the Bread of Life.  The “I AM” is the same as what God told Moses when he asked God what His name was.  God replied, I AM that I AM.  Tell them that I AM sent you.  When Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life” He used the same phrase, claiming Himself to be very God.  He did not give His name but one of His attributes, His self existence.  The reason is that a name is used to distinguish one from another of similar features or specifics.  When you come to God, there is no other like Him.  He is one of a kind, unique, different from all others.  So to know Him is to know His attributes.  In this case it is His eternal self existence.  No other living being has eternal self existence so the identification is made by that characteristic.  Because he is self existent, He is not subject to time.  The conclusion is that in Eternity, time does not exist.  We, who exist in linear time, do not think of a timeless existence so we superimpose our understanding of time into Eternity and come to a false conclusion of what Eternity is like.  To truly know what Eternity is like is to know it from an eternal position which still awaits us.  We see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.

What will it be like?  I don’t really know what it will be like, but I know that it won’t be like now any more than the world of time and space is like the world of the womb.  There is even more difference between this present world and the world of Eternity.  I get a clue of something of what it might be like as I look at others who have been very close to God.  Moses saw Him from behind and his face glowed so bright that he had to wear a veil.  Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and it changed him forever and he had a limp the rest of his life.  The three Hebrew children walked with Him in the fire and it had no effect on them except to free them from their bonds.  Many saints came before Him and fell on their faces, unable to stand without His help.  When Isaiah saw Him on His throne in the temple, he saw himself as unclean and without hope until the Lord cleansed his sin.  Paul was knocked to the ground when he met the Lord and it change his life, permanently.  When John saw the Lord, He was the glorified Christ and he fell at His feet as dead.  The result of that meeting is the book of Revelation.  On thing is certain, when we find ourselves before the Lord our God, we will see Him as He is and we will be changed.