Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Glory’

Obedience, the Road to Glory

Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  ~~   Exodus 40:34-35   (KJV)

“The Glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

Here we’re into details. Seven times we see the Israelites did “as the Lord commanded Moses.” They followed their instructions in every specification.

When it was all completed, then the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

How do we apply this to our lives today? Well, there’s obedience. No, it’s not a dirty word. Obedience to the Lord is more to be desired than sacrifice.

It was  not the sacrifices themselves that brought the Lord into the temple. It was the obedience of the people.

God has promised to dwell with us, within in us, if we let Him. But any scrap of disobedience makes our hearts unfit to tabernacle the Lord. Try as we might, we are inadequate to be completely obedient to the Lord.

That’s where the blood of Christ atones for us. He takes on our sin and covers us with His righteousness. What a glorious exchange – our filth for His purity!

Only with a heart bent toward obedience and a reliance on the blood of Christ can we hope to experience the Glory of the Lord in the tabernacle of our hearts.

Father, God,

Help us to hear and be swift to obey. Grant us the grace to acknowledge our shortcomings and the faith to believe that Christ atoned for them all.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Light and Glory

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:   Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  ~~ John 1:11-13  (KJV)

It is so easy to get caught up in the trappings and excesses and pressures our culture imposes on the season that we can lose sight of the essentials.

Shopping, baking, decorating, gift wrapping, and parties consume our time and energy.  We do all in the name of Christmas, but we seem to forget that the basis of Christmas is Christ.

When Christ was born, he was born into the family of David. But the religious Jews of that day did not recognize him. The message was given to shepherds in the field. The Magi sought Him out.  But in the Jewish community of that day, His reception was mixed.

Some recognized him.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,   Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. ~~ Luke 2:25-32 (KJV)

“A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

In this season, let us look to the light and the glory.

Father, God,

Help us to see and to recognize the reason for this season. Grant that we may never lose sight of Your salvation for those who believe. Thank You for sending Jesus as our Savior and our example. May we extend Your love and generosity to all we meet.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

Identity – Part Two

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13 – King James Version (KJV)
Now that we have decided who Jesus is, perhaps we should look at our own identity.
When we are introduced to someone new, there are several identity type questions that spring to mind. Where are you from? Who are you related to? What do you do?
Take a minute and try to define who you are without answering any of those questions.
Yes, it is harder than it looks.
This is who God says you are. You are His child.
Some years ago, my friend Sandra and I were talking about children. She had five. I had four. And she was laughing at the thought that we were in charge of family planning. “We think it’s because of our love for our husbands that these children were born. We had nothing to do with it. Each child was conceived when God said ‘(Name of child) come forth!’  We had very little to do with it.”
She had come to the same conclusion as the poet, William Wordsworth.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:    
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,    
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,    
          And cometh from afar:    
        Not in entire forgetfulness,    
        And not in utter nakedness,    
But trailing clouds of glory do we come      
        From God, who is our home:
from his Ode – Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
We started as His children. We were born into a world of sin and God-forgetfulness, becoming children of the world and of sin. When we believe on Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we claim our identity as God’s children.
And God claims us as His children.  What a privilege!  What a responsibility!
Father, God,
Help us to understand the depth of Your love that called us forth into this life and that redeems us from the world. Grant that we may be ever aware of Your love, Your generosity, Your provision. Give us the grace to extend to others as we witness to them about Who You are and how much You love them.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Glory And Peace

Focus verses: Haggai: 2:1-9

The temple building project cannot be completed in a few days or even a few months. During the reconstruction, the Lord sends Haggai and Zechariah with encouraging messages to keep the work going. Some projects simply require more dedication, determination and effort than others.

In this passage, God reassures the children of Israel that the glory of this temple will surpass the glory of Solomon’s temple. That seems counter-intuitive because this temple is smaller in size and will have less ornamentation than the former temple.

Perhaps glory is not a quality that is measured by size and ornament. Perhaps glory is a facet of essence. You see, Jesus himself will walk the halls of this temple. He will teach here. He will drive the money changers out.

“And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the Lord Almighty.

Peace is much sought after in all times and seasons. There seems to be precious little of it in our nations today. And yet the greeting in Hebrew is shalom – peace. Our western custom of shaking hands is sprung from the offering to another of a sword hand that is empty of weapon – symbolic of peace.

We have no temple. This second temple has been destroyed as well. But each of us has a personal temple. We have been told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We have been bought by the blood of Christ and belong to Him, not to ourselves. He has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell with us.

Let us consider ourselves as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let us look for God’s glory in our lives. Let us rejoice in His peace, which will bless our spirits that we might continue our work for Him.

Father, God,

Help us to see things on a spiritual plane, not just in physical earthly terms. Grant us the vision to see Your work as on-going and us as Your masons, building temple for You brick by brick.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Source Of Sorrow

Focus verses: Jeremiah 13:15-27

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. Reading these verses, one can well understand why Jeremiah wept.

God told him to speak. God told him what to say. And God told him the people would not listen to him, but to the prophets that would tickle their ears with what they wanted to hear.

This particular passage speaks to the arrogance of the people. When a people are arrogant, they tend to glorify themselves, not the God who made them. They forget that their blessings are not earned but are a gift from God.

They grow proud (having excessive self-esteem) and become unteachable because they already know it all.

Israel’s destruction is coming from the north in this passage. They had allied themselves with Babylon – had even taken some of the Babylonian dieties into their homes as objects of worship. They thought that an alliance with Babylon – a strong nation – would protect them.

In the musical “The King and I,” the king sings a song called “It’s a Puzzlement” in which he says:

Shall I join with other nations in alliance?
If allies are weak, am I not best alone?
If allies are strong with power to protect me,
Might they not protect me out of all I own?

Unfortunately, Israel did not consider that their only safe ally is the Lord. They turned their backs on Him. And He will turn His back on Israel in this instance.

I keep seeing our nation in Jeremiah’s prophecies. We have a government system in place that fosters the idol religion of secular humanism. Everything is seen with man as the measure of all things. We have allowed this humanism to grow for almost all of the twentieth century without checking it. In the twenty-first century, we need to stem this tide and return to the basis on which we were founded.

This burden is on the people of God. He says “if my people“… Only the prayers of the faithful (God’s people) can stay the coming captivity of our land. We need to be on our knees.

Father, God,

Save us from arrogance and pride. Give us teachable spirits and praying hearts. Help us to move the people of this land that we love back into the knowledge of and reverence for You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Two Sins

Focus verses: Jeremiah 2:10-19

The words of the Lord here are a somber charge against the children of Israel. God compares them to the nations of idolaters surrounding them — unfavorably, I might add.

The other nations remain faithful to their idols, even though those idols are powerless to help them. But the people of God have exchanged the glory of God for worthless idols. The heavens are to be appalled and shudder with horror.

These verses are as valuable for us today as they were for the nation of Israel when Jeremiah was speaking them.

We have exchanged the glory of God for the idol of secular humanism. God is no longer the measure by which we judge ourselves. Man is to be the measure of all things.

This shift in values can lead only to destruction. It smacks of the fall of an angel to become a demon.

Our only hope lies in prayer followed by appropriate action. God calls us to pray for the nation and He promises to hear us. But there is action in the call besides just praying. Those actions are humble themselves, pray, seek and turn. Prayer is only a part of it.

Humble ourselves, recognize that we are not the measure of all things.
Pray, get on our knees and petition the Lord, recognizing His Sovereignty.
Seek, actively study to learn more of Him.
Turn, change our behaviors – another way to say repent.

We are called to these actions to try to save our nation from the destruction appointed for the idolatrous.

Father, God,

Show us our place in Your scheme of things. Keep us mindful of our pettiness in the face of Your majesty. Help us to follow Your call to action for our homeland. Stay Your hand yet a little longer while Your faithful pray and seek change.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Comfort And Praise

Focus verses: Isaiah Chapter 40

I cannot read the 40th chapter of Isaiah without hearing the music of George Frederick Handel’s “Messiah” oratorio.

The bass starts with “Comfort ye my people.” And the chorus swells with “The Glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

There is such comfort and joy and praise in this entire passage. It is merely a whisper of the comfort and joy and praise that awaits the faithful in the presence of God.

Occasionally we get glimpses of the glory of the Lord, the full glory of the Lord. Anticipating the full presence and glory of the Lord is the joy and hope of every Christian. The heart swells to bursting. Our minds cannot comprehend.

But Isaiah has given us a picture. One we can hold in our hearts against the day when we can see with our own eyes, hear with our own ears the chorus of angelic praise, feel with our senses the presence of the Lord, immediate, overwhelming, and completely surrounding us.

This is an invitation to fulfill our desires for knowledge of and closeness to the Lord. Remembering this, we can hope and anticipate whatever God has in store for us.

Father, God,

We thank You for this glimpse of what heaven must be like. Grant that we may hunger and thirst for You and You alone. Help us to be single-minded in our search for You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.