Glory

Glory

1Pe 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

Ro 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

I have been thinking of how amazing is the wonder of God’s handiwork in making man. He is so intricate and detailed. He is composed of the basic elements of matter, arranged in complicated combinations of molecules which do wondrous things. Just the 5 physical senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell are each fantastic within themselves. Then you add the circulatory system, the nervous system and the organs, the skeleton, mussels, skin, tendons and so forth and their operation to provide function expands the wonder even further. Lets not leave out the brain and its unequaled ability to think and reason. Then to consider that man is a trinity in that he not only has a body but also a soul and spirit and you ask the question, “For what purpose would God go to such length in creating life, only to see it die in a short time. It is glorious but so temporary.

The answer cannot be in the physical aspect of its beauty. There must be a greater purpose for man than in just who he is. The fact that the flower dies quickly reveals the fact of man’s temporary nature and the need for an eternal purpose. The answer is in God Himself. The glory of man is simply a reflection of his Creator. Man did not make himself but was created by God. The purpose of man is not to be seen as only an object to behold but become more than just physical, but more than that, to become eternal and like his creator.

Within that short span of time he makes that choice of becoming like God in his nature and being or rejecting that opportunity and attempt to make himself after his own image. We can easily see the end of that choice is death – just like the flower, because that was not why he was designed for. God’s plan for man was so much greater in every respect. First of all, the flower is to call attention to the Creator not the creation. Second, we have a sin problem that can only be remedied by God’s provision, the blood of Jesus. Thirdly, God is a good god and has only good planned for us. If we reject it then it is on us and not Him. Fourthly, the best that man can do is things of this world but God’s plan for man is eternal. The flower is only a sample of the goodness that is ours in Him, and it does not end but is eternal.

Flowers are found everywhere, all over the world. It’s like God is saying to the world, look at all I have for you. Don’t hate me when I have so much for you. Yes, I know that you have so troubled times but it is through these times that I am building in you that eternal nature that will endure forever. Just keep you focus on me and trust me that I know what I am doing. The more you view my glory, the more that you will be changed into that same image. You’ll really love it in the end.

To Die is Gain

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Yesterday was a very different day that will have extensive repercussions.   I was just walking out the door for an appointment when my daughter called me with the news that her brother-in-law, Joel Bandy had passed away.  The news was quite shocking as I knew him quite well and had for a quarter of a century. 

During that time I worked with Joel as his fried, pastor, counselor, and whatever else he needed, along with many others.  He would call me once or twice a week and share his struggles.  He fought through mental illness, personal worth, etc.  Over the years he changed from an angry man to a gentle loving person.  He found his greatest joy in the Lord and that was always the subject of his conversation.  He spent multiplied hours reading through the scriptures and could quote scriptures with the best. 

I don’t know why we became so close.  Perhaps it was because he was so genuine and unpretending.  He knew who and what he was and had little to no time trying to be someone else.  His greatest desire was to be used by the Lord and wanted others to know the Lord as he knew Him.

This struggle was continuous until one day, in an effort to give him something to work on that he would find challenging aa well as rewarding, I suggested he use the college training he had.  He majored in the Russian language and had worked as a translator.  It had been years since he had used it and was rusty.  He then asked me how to do it?  He said he didn’t know how to start and had no contacts that would hire him.  I told him to find something to translate and just start doing it for the experience.  I told him that the job would follow.  He still seemed reluctant so I suggested that he translate my book into Russian.  His immediate response was that no, it was too big a task and that he wouldn’t want to start with such a big project.  I then suggested that he take small bites and just do a chapter but that was still too much so I suggested that he do a paragraph or even a sentence.  I wasn’t looking for a translator but simply a project that would help him focus on developing his skills.  He said he would pray about it and let me know.  That was Joel, he prayed about everything.  Then, a few days later, he told me that he would at least make an attempt at a sentence but he wasn’t promising anything beyond that. 

That was nearly two years ago.  After he translated the first sentence, he said that he would try another, which he did by the next day.  He began to enjoy translating and then it was a paragraph, and then another and each time he said he didn’t know how long he would continue but for now he would continue.  Within a few weeks he had completed the entire first chapter.  Sometimes he would find a word or phrase that didn’t translate so he would call me and we would figure it out together.  It wasn’t long until he began to clear out the rust and the familiarity would come back and he really began to get better and doing it.  He began to collect the tools he needed to do an accurate job.  He took pride in doing a good job and would chase a word to its beginning and through its uses to get it right.

He pressed on and finished the first chapter, then the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth chapters.  As we worked through the ends of the sixth chapter, he seemed to be pressing hard and did the final three paragraphs at one time, and we rejoiced together.  He said he just wanted to get it finished and was glad we had it done.  He said he would be forwarding it to me soon.  That was on Saturday evening.  Then on Tuesday morning I got the news that he had gone to be with the Lord. 

We talked on various occasions about this life being so short, yet he longed to be with the Lord.  The Lord was his comforter and understood him.  Now he is enjoying life in a whole new dynamic.  His struggles are over and his victory is won.  While I lost my friend, brother, co-laborer, and translator; He has gained peace, victory and the presence of the Lord.  I rejoice in his gain and I will miss him until we are reunited there with the Lord.

A Diamond In The Rough

The following is quoted from Wikepedia:

Carbon (from Latin: carbo “coal”) is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6.  It is nonmetallic and tetravalent-making for electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds.  It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table.  Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity.

Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.  Carbon’s abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life.  It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.

The atoms of carbon can bond together in different ways, termed allotropes of carbon.  The best known are graphite, diamond and amorphous carbon.  The physical properties of carbon vary widely with the allotropic form.  For example, graphite is opaque and black while diamond is highly transparent.  Graphite is soft enough to form a streak on paper, while diamond is the hardest naturally occurring material known.  Grophite is a good electrical conductor whlile diamond has a low electrical conductivity.  Under normal conditions, diamond carbon nanotubes, and graphene have the highest therman conductivities of all known materials.  All carbon allotropes are solids under normal conditions, with graphite being the most thermodynamically stable form at standard temperature and pressure.  They are chemically resistant and require high temperature to react even with oxygen. 

Carbon forms a vast number of compounds, more than any other element,  with almost ten million compounds described to date, and yet that number is but a fraction of the number of theoretically possible compounds under standard conditions.  For this reason, carbon has often been referred to as the “king of the elements”.

To simplify the the above quote, the stuff to make diamonds with is the 15th most abundant element on Earth which is carbon. All it takes to make a diamond is the basic element, carbon, and a lot of heat and pressure. It does not take a lot of time either for diamonds have been made in literally a few hours, rather than the millions of years that is sometimes stated. And so it is that a diamond is made from the simplest and most common elements just as God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. 1Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;   All of us have the potential to become a jewel in the crown of God. All we need is the difficulty and pressures of this world to make us into a precious jewel for the Lord.

Just being a gem stone is not the same as being a cut stone that reflects the brilliance of the Light. It must be cut and polished in order for its beauty and glory to be seen. An uncut stone looks just like any other stone until it is cut. Only then are the beauty and dynamic of all that went into its creation, seen and radiate the Light from its creator. The glory is that of its Creator and not of the stone. Only He knows how much fire and how much pressure it takes to build all the faucets within to reflect the Light out for others to see the wonder of God’s working, for we are the workmanship of God.

Preparing for a Journey

Just one more day until I set off to an adventure that has been 74 years in the making.  As I sit here and contemplate everything I need to include for the trip, my thoughts seem endless.  What do I need to pack?  I even found a three page list of things to consider.  I printed it off and highlighted the items I needed to include from it.  From past experience, I know that there are always things that I wished I would have brought but didn’t, but I will be totally out of my familiar territory and won’t necessarily be able to just pick up what I might need.

It seems that everyday something else pops up that I hadn’t thought of.  Just two days ago I got an email from my church, needing for me to fill out an information form for my health insurance to cover me in a foreign country.  As it worked out I had a visit from my health provider and found out that my present insurance wouldn’t cover me in a foreign country.  Just another reason to be a part of a team that is experienced in making such trips.  Even as I am typing this blog I just got a note from my trip insurance Company for additional information they need for the insurance.

Since I am going to a part of the world that I am totally unfamiliar with, I decided to look up the area and learn something that would make my trip richer.  I discovered that this particular area is the center of produce (fruit and vegetables) for China.  Its importance goes back for thousands of years.  That piece of information may not seem important to you but it rang a bell to me.  You see I was raised in Palisade, Colorado which was the peach capitol of the world at one time.  It is an oasis of fruit and vegetable because of its 300 days per year of sunshine and its irrigation system and I worked in it all year.  My day operated the 4 largest produce outlets in the valley and I became spoiled with the best that was available.  I pruned the fruit trees, irrigated plowed, thinned picked and even bought and sold it.  Now I get to see how they do it in another culture and I am so looking forward to tasting it for myself.

When I arrive there in a couple days from now, I will be much like a new born baby.  Little hair, few teeth, can’t speak the language, and won’t know my way around. Yet babies make it and so can I.  I was thinking about the journey a baby makes in its arrival to this world from the world of the womb.  It is all so strange and takes a lot of adjustment.  I was also thinking about our arrival into the spiritual world.  It doesn’t begin after physical death but after the death of the old man that Paul referenced in Romans.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

This new life begins at our salvation when we become the new creation of God. (II Cor 5:17)  Just as a newborn has to learn how see, hear, speak, etc., we also have to learn how to operate in the spiritual life.  That spiritual existence actually begins here in this world where God is transforming us into His image, likeness and dominion.  That process is know as sanctification and isn’t completed until we receive our new body and we meet the Lord in the air.  It is much like the gestation period of a pregnancy in which the fetus receives its body for this life.  Our physical death can also be compared to the child’s birth when it physically moves from the world of the womb to the world of time and space which we live in now.

As I contemplate the final destination of my trip to China, it only enhances my expectation of my final destination of being with the Lord through eternity.

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.