Tag Archives: Glory

Stating the obvious – words matter!

18 Jan

Aren’t you thankful that God created us with communicative language skills?  I often take that gift for granted.

Two recent ‘aha!’ moments brightened my day and made me grateful for the insights words can provide.

The first one:

This morning, while walking for exercise, I listened to a John Piper sermon where he mentioned God’s purpose for creating you & me.  He cited Isaiah 43:8 when describing what God says His reasons:

  • everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

What was new to me was that the fact that God WILL be glorified by every person.  Piper framed it like this.  Are we going to glorify God like Judas or like Peter? It’s not up to US whether we glorify Him or not.  If God says He created us with the express purpose of showcasing His glory, then He will. For being God, by ontological nature, everything that He wills to be done IS/WILL BE done.  And how do WE know what His will is?  From what He says, what is written in the Bible.  Words!

The import of this fact that God will be glorified by each of the people He creates is this: Whether we die as a hardened God-hater or rather as a person whose heart burns to proclaim and point to the wonders of God, each of us WILL bring glory to Him when He rewards or punishes us.

The second one: 

Alan Shlemon from Stand to Reason wrote a letter about how Jesus modeled truth and compassion while on earth.

As I began to read, I assumed I knew what sense of ‘truth’ Alan was addressing:  the truth that Jesus, as God, had about the moral failures of everyone He met.

But the way Alan described Jesus’ use of truth was in focused study of someone.  Read this excerpt from his letter dated Thursday, 5 January 2017:

In Matthew 9:35–36, for example, Jesus is going through all the towns and villages, healing diseases and sickness, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. Matthew writes, Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” Notice the order. Jesus learns the truth and then is motivated by compassion. He sees that the people are distressed, dispirited, and like sheep without a shepherd and, because of that truth, He is driven to compassion.

I had never considered that use of truth.  But because of how Alan painted Jesus’ actions toward people, I now WANT to look more carefully at those around me, to study their tone, their faces, their postures and ask the kind of questions that will give me some true insight into their burdens.  I know this:  only THAT kind of truth will soften my heart.

 

The other kind of truth can puff up, even if it’s accurate and well grounded.  (I’m not arguing against the responsibility we all have to KNOW truth and live by it.)

So here’s to WORDS and the power of eloquent and accurate communication, whether from a fellow created being or our Creator!

Logical Gal – presuppositions about trials

7 Feb

We all face suffering through trials.

Our pre-existing beliefs or ‘pre-suppositions’ going INTO difficulties determine our conclusions.  And our ‘bottom-line’ reasoning impacts our feelings and how we will react.

My circumstances in my new school setting have been painful this first year.  And they seem to be getting worse.  So I have had occasion to rethink how I view suffering.

Because I have a Biblical worldview, my foundational beliefs are influenced by God’s Word.  But, let me assure you, no matter which worldview you hold, your presuppositions will influence you.  It doesn’t matter that your ‘going into the trial’ beliefs might be different from mine.  I just want you to SEE how our pre-existing beliefs make a difference.  It’s a corollary then that you should EXAMINE your presuppositions to see if they are ones you want influencing your life!!

Here is how my logical mind is working today.  The following are some ‘givens’ or axioms that I have gathered over the years as a Christian:

  1. I am made in the image of God
  2. He is a God of infinite joy, so authentic pleasure and contentment are important to Him.
  3. He has wired me to enjoy what He enjoys
  4. The highest joy/pleasure in the universe is being in His presence when He is glorified. (the Bible affirms this throughout the Old and New Testaments.  **The one sample passage at the end of this post is part of Jesus’ prayer before He was crucified.)
  5. The best seat in which I can see God glorified and thereby maximize my true pleasure, is UP CLOSE, in my life.
  6. The more desperate and dire the situations in my life, the more occasion for God to show Himself strong and amazing.
  7. I am UNABLE to do anything to help myself in this current struggle.  God is my only recourse.  Each additional turn of events that makes things worse is only serving to make the resolution all the more amazing when He does act.
  8. God is infinitely creative and acts in ways that are often unique and beyond my imagination.
  9. In the end, I am REALLY going to be satisfied in God and grateful that He allowed THIS to happen.

Reviewing in my mind my core suppositional beliefs does help.  It takes the anxiety out of the waiting.  I can live without seeing HOW He is going to act.  Since I KNOW His character and how He has acted in the past and what He promises, I am more likely to practice patience.

Question:  What are YOUR presuppositions about suffering?  Do they help you?

**Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.  John 17: 24-26