God – 1

What do you think when you hear the word ‘awe’, in relation to God?

The word ‘awe’ has a number of meanings:

(a)  overwhelming wonder, admiration, respect, or dread

(b)  a feeling of profound respect for someone or something

Basically, the word causes one to be drawn to that person, event or object, with rapt attention, overwhelmed with amazement at who the person is, or the knowledge given, or the object being observed.  It makes one give full attention, with everything else blocked out, and any discomfort forgotten.

When it comes to worshipping God in ‘awe’, even the music or the songs become a ‘blur’.

So, following on from that we need to ask ourselves, are we in ‘awe’ of God, especially when we come to worship?  In a sense, we should come before Him in fear, as He is ‘holy’, ‘great’, ‘majestic’, ‘powerful’, etc.  So, are we prepared beforehand for our worship – have we confessed our sins and repented of them, have we focused our thoughts and actions on truly giving our full attention to God?  When we come together, is it more important to talk to friends or to prepare for your encounter with the Almighty?  As part of that, do we get to the gathering in good time to do this?

This even applies to when we spend time with Him on a daily basis.  Because of who He is, we need to take our time with Him more seriously.  He is our Father, but He is also our King, who demands our respect.  Even Jesus, when He calls God, ‘Abba’, does so in an attitude of respect.

In being in ‘awe’ of God, helps us to begin to realise how ‘big’ God is.  When we do that, we can begin to believe that He can overcome the ‘impossible’, because of the resources in Heaven He can call upon.

By having such a focus on God, helps us in making our priorities throughout the rest of the day line up to His will.

The issue is getting to that stage.  Hence the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Now turn to 1 Corinthians 3:16 where it says:

‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?’

This is a reminder that, as a disciple of Jesus, you already have the Holy Spirit living within you.  But, for Him to fully operate, we need to confess our sins and repent of them, so that He can take full control of you.

For it says in Ephesians 5:18:

‘Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (NLT)

The inference here is that there is a battle for control of your life.  Being ‘drunk with wine’ is symbolic of things that seek to drag you down and make you ineffective. Also note that, “be filled” means “keep on being filled constantly and continually”.

Paul also admonishes us in Romans 12:1,2:

I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Confess and repent of every known sin which the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and experience the cleansing and forgiveness which God promises in 1 John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Take a look at Ephesians 6:10-20:

‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.’ (NIV)

As you can see to truly worship God in awe, involves a battle between the forces of God and that of satan, which God has called us to be involved in.  But don’t forget that God has won the war already, on the Cross, yet there are still battles to be won, for the souls of people.  Please note the various ‘keys’ we have in such a battle – more on that later.

And finally, we turn to Hebrews 12:1-3, to remind ourselves that:

‘Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ (NIV)

It is all about our focus.

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Posted in God.

God – 2

We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:20-22

Our language of ‘trust’ varies according to the situation. For instance, I have found that many managers, when asked if they trust their team, reply in terms of reliability: their trust being linked to a team member’s ability to ‘deliver’ on their key accountability areas. Many team members, however, when asked the same question regarding their boss, reply in terms of openness: their trust dependent on the willingness of their manager to ‘level’ with them, not hiding anything.

God also has a language of trust, as Psalm 33 makes clear. Trusting God is essentially trusting in and not trusting for: we trust in God’s word (v. 4), his unfailing love (v. 5), his power (v. 10), his timing (v. 20) and his name/character (v. 21), rather than trusting for a specific outcome. Specifying exactly how we expect God to act often blinds us to what he is actually doing. And it is because we cannot always ‘see’ what God is doing that we are tempted to rely on our army, horses and strength (vs. 16-17) – our resources or our abilities. Most of us have been encouraged to be self-reliant, and in situations that feel beyond our capacity to ‘sort’ we often feel insecure. And insecurity is a false security exposed!

Trust is faith in action. Each of us has been given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3) and God expects that measure to increase (2 Corinthians 10:15). How, then, do we grow in faith? Through practice!

Hudson Taylor faced this question as he prepared for being a missionary overseas. He wrote: ‘When I get out to China I shall have no claim on anyone for anything. My only claim will be on God. How important to learn, before leaving England, to move man through God by prayer alone.’ He realised that for growth to happen exercise was needed, and exercise of faith was impossible apart from trials. So he welcomed trials as a means of increasing and strengthening his trust in God alone.

Bev Shepherd – LICC 2012

Posted in God.

God – 3

As a Christian, a disciple of Jesus, life is all about a relationship of God and part of that is doing His will by applying Jesus’ teaching to every area of life, personally and corporately.  But for that to be meaningful and not just following a set of rules, one needs to get to know God and understand Him and His ways.  To help us in developing this relationship, we have the Bible.  One of the key themes running through the Scriptures are events demonstrating His character and thus His characteristics.

A word that encompasses the many facets of His character is the word ‘Glory’.

Let us first look at some definitions from English dictionaries.

noun:

1. very great praise, honour, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown: to win glory on the field of battle;

2. something that is a source of honour, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride: a sonnet that is one of the glories of English poetry;

3. adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving: Give glory to God;

4. resplendent beauty or magnificence: the glory of autumn;

5. a state of great splendour, magnificence, or prosperity;

6. a state of absolute happiness, gratification, contentment, etc.: She was in her glory when her horse won the Derby;

7. the splendour and bliss of heaven; heaven;

8. a ring, circle, or surrounding radiance of light represented about the head or the whole figure of a sacred person, as Christ or a saint; a halo, nimbus, or aureole.;

9. a height of prosperity or achievement;

10. a distinguished quality or asset.

verb (used without object), gloried, glorying:

1. to exult with triumph; rejoice proudly (usually followed by in ): Their father gloried in their success;

2. obsolete: to boast.

Interjection:

1. also, glory be . Glory be to God (used to express surprise, elation, wonder, etc.).

2. glory days / years, the time of greatest achievement, popularity, success, or the like: the glory days of radio;

3. go to glory, to die. Also, go to one’s glory.

Related forms:

gloryingly, adverb

self-glory, noun

self-glorying, adjective

Synonyms:

fame, eminence, celebrity, brilliance, refulgence, effulgence, acclaim, accolade, applause, bay(s), credit, distinction, homage, honour, kudos, laud, laurels, props [slang], réclame, sun.

Antonyms:

Disgrace

Origins:

c.1300, “magnificence,” from O.Fr. glorie, from L. gloria “great praise or honor,” of uncertain origin. Gk. doxa “expectation” (Homer), later “opinion, fame,” and ultimately “glory,” was used in Biblical writing to translate a Heb. word which had a sense of “brightness, splendor, magnificence, majesty,” Middle English  < Old French glorie  < Latin glōria

In the Bible, there are a number of words used for ‘glory’:

kabod – abundance, honour, glory;

eder – glory, magnificence, a mantle, a cloak;

paar – to beautify, glorify, to adorn;

hod – splendour, majesty, vigour;

netsach – eminence, enduring, everlastingness, perpetuity;

shabach – commend;

hadar – an honour, majesty

godel – greatness

atarah – a crown, wreath;

tsbiy – beautiful;

kabowd – glorious;

chuppah – a canopy, chamber;

tqoph – might;

hadarah – beauty;

yaqar – precious, rare;

tohar – purifying;

doxa – worship;

epainos – praise;

doxazó – to bestow;

kratos – strength, might;

kleos – fame;

apaugasma – radiance;

eulogia – praise;

stephanos – a crown, garland, honour, glory;

apokalupsis — by the glory received from God;

ischus – strength, might.

 

     
 

 

Posted in God.