Tw Cen MT – The theologian C. S. Lewis, in his essay The Weight of Glory, writes “Glory suggests two ideas to me, of which one seems wicked and the other ridiculous. Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity.” He concludes that glory should be understood in the former sense, but states that one should not desire fame before men (human glory), but fame before God (divine glory).

Glory is also used simply to express God’s majesty and honor, or God’s miraculous power. classical understanding of God conceives of God as being the most glorious being. The doctrine of the Imago Dei teaches that humans also share or participate in divine glory as image-bearers. Like a mirror, people reflect God’s glory (though imperfectly). Christians are instructed to “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

In opposition to the desire for glory from God, stands the desire for glory from man. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, cautions that the desire of glory from man is a sin (though not a mortal sin). He lists vainglory as a capital vice.

In both the Old Testament and New Testament glory is often described using radiant or luminous imagery. For example, the prophet Ezekiel writes in his vision:

Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”

Glorification is the third stage of Christian development. The first being justification, then sanctification, and finally glorification. (Rom. 8:28-30) Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. There are two events that occur during glorification, these are “the receiving of perfection by the elect before entering into the kingdom of heaven,” and “the receiving of the resurrection bodies by the elect.”

While purgatory deals with the means by which the elect become perfect, glorification deals with the elect becoming perfect. After the final judgement, all the righteous dead shall arise and their bodies will be perfected and will become a glorified body. Only then can they enter Heaven. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis’s Weight of Glory: “If we were to see them in their glorified forms we would be tempted to bow down and worship them.”

When you’ve had your fill of glory so much so that it weighs you down, why not transfer that burden to God?


Tic-Tac Goose

Trebuchet MS – “The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, and then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” – Brennan Manning

Have you ever stepped inside a church and knew that you were in the wrong place? I used to tell my friends, “Go to church, any church.” No more though, I’m at the point where I would tell them, “Go to church, any church that’s teaching right and has good people.” At this particular church, nobody greeted me. There seemed to be nobody my age, which was a point of concern because if the church had no youth, it had no future. In another church there was an overwhelming number of youth, all of them attended the church’s school. The sermon was 45 minutes about the school and its athletics program and a 5 minute story about how the Christian life is like a car. The church’s electrical problems did it in. 

My grandmother said that not long after a surgery she found it difficult anything other than sweat pants. When she went to church on a particular Sunday, the pastor began his sermon, “I was going to talk about God’s grace, but I think it is more important that I address the issue of the Sunday Best …” Afterwards, a couple of members pointed out that it would be best if she wore a dress the next time she came. It’s no wonder she never visited that church again.

A Christian boy in my area would work on Sundays and wait on the Christian tables. That way, the people’s bad witness wouldn’t hurt the witness of people who sincerely wanted to witness to his co-workers. Anybody who works in a restaurant will tell you that working on a Sunday is only worth the money.

How does the church that protests at funerals show God’s love? Can a building show love the same way those who meet in it do? You should never feel intimidated by your church or ignore any red flags that you notice. It will not be easy to leave a good church, it’ll be much harder to leave a bad one.

This article, Overcoming a Bad Church Experience, has a lot of good advice. Many people who have left a bad church often never go back to church at all. It’s easy to see why, isn’t the saying once bit twice shy? Still, a good church will go along way in the healing process.

The blind eye and the blinder eye

Times New Roman – Phillipians 2:3-4, “3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

You’ve probably seen this comercial more times than you care to count: A man gives both of his children and his wife each a new cell phone telling them that they are his number one. On the porchstep, he pulls out another phone and remarks “Savin’ the best for numero uno.” As he walks away, the phone company follows him in an effort to prove that they are that reliable.

What about the cereal commercial where the two spies are tied together in a collapsing facility, the woman asks for the cereal because she can use it to save their lives. The man refuses because he’s too busy eating it.

1 Corinthians 10:24, “24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

Selfishness denotes the precedence given in thought or deed to the self, i.e., self interest or self concern. It is the act of placing one’s own needs or desires above the needs or desires of others. Selfishness is the opposite of altruism.

“Look out for number one because nobody else will but you. Find yourself. Treat yourself to a night on the town. Do whatever makes you happy. You deserve it. You are worth it.” This is what seems to be backbone of our society. People are so busy looking out for themselves, they do not care about others.

In the most recent Our Daily Bread devotion that I read, it mentioned that a certain mountain climber was so anxious to get to the top of Mount Everest that he was not careful and he soon ran out of oxygen. Fourty other climbers passed him, not one of them sharing their life-saving oxygen. The anxious mountain climber died.

I posted a poem sometime back called, “The Cold Within.” One of people around the dying fire:

“And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.”

Selfishness loses games, wounds friendships, ends relationships, inconviences strangers, and always does more harm than good. People have become so busy looking out for themselves, rarely looking beyond their own shoes, that nobody looks out for others. The homeless, the hungry, the sick, the suffering, and the dying. Our selfishness will always make us blind to the plight of others.

Like that commercial. “This is Fred. Somebody almost gave him a meal. Somebody almost drove him to the hospital. Somebody almost gave him a blanket. Fred almost lived through the night. Almost. Don’t almost give.”

long words and strong language

TimelessTLig – (I recieved a phone call stating that the place where my father works is interested in allowing me to try out for a summer position. It’ll be very hard work and fairly good money, assuming I make it. I’m not staking my future on whether or not I make it though. It’s been snowing here for the better part of the night, so it’s beautiful outside.)

There are some concepts in Christianity that just aren’t taught the way the used to be. I’ve watched a program called “Ask the Pastor” and sometimes the pastors will advise the person asking the question to rebuke their problem. The idea that we can rebuke this or that has never been taught in any church I’ve attended.

To rebuke is to criticize sharply, to serve as a rebuke to, to turn back or keep down, or it is an expression of strong dissaproval. The Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning and not judge them.

Of course, if we knew all the circumstances, we would not be so quick to rebuke. Here are some suggestions for the use or disuse of rebuke:

  1. What is my motive? To help or to hurt? To correct or to condemn?: Am I doing it to show me right, or to help them right the wrong?
  2. What is my standard? My idea or concept? The Bible? My philosophy?
  3. Will the person see it as Godly rebuke or just bash criticism?
  4. Is it necessary? Is there a worthy cause? Will it cost a friendship?
  5. If rebuke can not be given in the right attitude, it shouldn’t be given.
  6. Rebuke/criticism that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit will always fail. Please read Gal. 6:1 and may God bless you.

a somewhat spiritual heritage

Tahoma – Jonathan Edwards (born 1703) was a man wholly devoted to Jesus Christ. At age 17 he married 13 year old Sarah Pierpont. On their wedding night they committed their marriage to the Lord. Their descendants have included 300 clergymen (pastors, missionaries and theologians), 100 attorneys, 60 judges (one dean of a law school), 60 doctors (one dean of a medical school), 60 authors of fine classics, 100 professors and 14 presidents of universities, 3 mayors of large cities, 3 state governors, a controller of the US Treasury and a Vice-President of America.

Max Dukes (Possibly Jukes) (born 1700) was an unbeliever who married an unsaved woman. They neither honored God nor lived principled lives. Amongst their 1200 known descendants: 310 were professional vagrants, 440 wrecked their lives by wild living, 130 went to jail (7 for murder, average age 13 years), over 100 became alcoholics, 60 were habitual thieves, 190 prostitutes. Twenty became tradesmen, 10 of whom learned their trade in jail. The researcher who compiled these statistics estimated that Max Dukes’ (again, Jukes’) descendants cost the state of New York $1.5 million.

For those who weren’t stuck on their preferred channel, there was an interesting program on PBS way back when on Super Bowl Sunday. The host and more than a half dozen guests traced back their genealogy through the years. The show was called African American Lives and they were able to trace one of the guests back to a tribe in Africa. One of the tools used were DNA tests. Your ethnicity can be broken down to so and so percent of this and so and so percent of that and so on. You have DNA that does not change, it can be traced back to certain countries. Perhaps we’ll never unlock the evidence that Adam was the first man and Eve was the mother of all living, it’s not likely that we’ll discover Noah in everybody’s ancestry. The Bible says not to focus on Geneology, but I think it’s important that we do consider it.

I’d have to say that I come from a stock of quiet believers with the potential to be ornery. I don’t know of any preachers, doctors, or lawyers, but I know we have ranchers, a police officer, a park ranger, carpenters, roof builders, a green beret, and some who work in the state’s government. It looks like most of us like to spend our time outside or making a difference. (We’ve discovered that one ancestor had the reputation of being honest.)

God is …

Sylfaen –  (I was looking over a news story about prayer when I caught the man say something to the effect of, “I never meant to lead the meetings to cause division in my prayers to God, whomever he or she may be.” It’s a sad day when our leaders don’t know about the God they’re dealing with. Here is a short list of what the Bible says about God. I think the Bible also indicateds that God happens to be a he.)

God is eternal.
(Deuteronomy 33:27; Jeremiah 10:10; Psalm 90:2)

God is infinite.
(1 Kings 8:22-27; Jeremiah 23:24; Psalm 102:25-27; Revelation 22:13)

God is self-sufficient and self-existent.
(Exodus 3:13-14; Psalm 50:10-12; Colossians 1:16)

God is omnipresent (present everywhere).
(Psalm 139:7-12)

God is omnipotent (all powerful).
(Genesis 18:14; Luke 18:27; Revelation 19:6)

God is omniscient (all knowing).
(Psalm 139:2-6; Isaiah 40:13-14)

God is unchanging or immutable.
(Psalm 102:25-27; Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8)

God is sovereign.
(2 Samuel 7:22; Isaiah 46:9-11)

God is wise.
(Proverbs 3:19; Romans 16:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:17)

God is holy.
(Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15)

God is righteous and just.
(Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 11:7; Psalm 119:137)

God is faithful.
(Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 89:1-8)

God is true and truth.
(Psalm 31:5; John 14:6; John 17:3; Titus 1:1-2)

God is good.
(Psalm 25:8; Psalm 34:8; Mark 10:18)

God is merciful.
(Deuteronomy 4:31; Psalm 103:8-17; Daniel 9:9; Hebrews 2:17)

God is gracious.
(Exodus 34:6; Psalm 103:8; 1 Peter 5:10)

God is love.
(John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8)

God is spirit.
(John 4:24)

God is light.
(James 1:17; 1 John 1:5)

God is triune or trinity.
(Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

not much

StymieT – I’m sorry to say that I’m a little under the weather, but it’s mostly my fault. I haven’t been sick all year, so I think I’ll get over it in a day or two. I’ve been looking for a devotional or forward to post, but to no avail.)

Not long ago, one of those court shows was trying to settle a dispute because the other guy ate the pork chop he wanted. I’ve been told that a popular television personality will be discussing theology, an example of what that person would teach would be that sin does not exist. That person isn’t the only one that holds that view, how convienient a world this would be if we could do no wrong. Perhaps it would be more acuately to say that nothing we would do could be consdiered wrong. Then, nobody would be on the wrong side of the law. Children would never misbehave. and such court shows would be a thing of the past. Tickets and fines would be no more.

Many religious groups are turning to this school of thought, “what is right for me may not neccesarily be what is right for you.” The Bible says that those who go their own way call the good things bad and the bad things good. How can that school of thought be any good? How is it right that we sue our neighbors and friends over who ate the biggest pork chop? Our experts will tell us that they have learned this way of life is best, but as soon as a study reveals that it is not, they are the first to tell us not to live that way.

This is a backwards world, and most people look at it through a mirror.