Friday, 15 January 2010

For the glory of God!

A while back my friend and colleague Marcus was preaching on the theme that everything is for the glory of God. As an illustration he said that when his daughters started to ask him endless “why Daddy” questions, he would just reply “For the glory of God, Sophie.”!
I was reminded of that yesterday when I came round from an operation only to learn that I would have to go through it again, for a third time! My first reaction was, of course, “Why Lord? I could really do without this!” but then of course, if you allow that questioning thought to linger, it’s only a short step before you start questioning God’s care, concern and power to act. So I shut down that enquiry with a drowsy “for your glory, Lord – I do trust you, your goodness to me and believe that somehow all this is for your glory.”

I have recently been studying the Book of Revelation, the context for which was a church trying to make sense of the suffering that they were going through under the persecutions of the Roman Empire. How do you make sense of that?
Well, John was taken in his vision, into the control centre of the universe, the heavenly throne room, and there he began to see how things really are in the world. Have you ever seen in war movies those command centres where submarines, ships, tanks and so on are moved around on a massive screen as strategies are plotted and executed? On the ground, it must be almost impossible at times to understand what’s going on, but when you can see the big picture, then you begin to see.
That’s why it’s so important to be a worshipper and to fellowship with Jesus rather than with our fears & doubts, so that we begin to get heaven’s perspective, and in due time, we will see His glory breaking through in every situation. I believe it!

Look at these opening words of Revelation…

Revelation 1:4 ’Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him..’

Now read on in chapter 1 and consider the magnificent vision of the Reigning King Jesus on the throne!
It really is all for your glory Lord!


Sunday, 3 January 2010

Captivating thoughts...

On a personal note, I am very aware that I go into the New Year a different guy to the one going into 2009, and it has nothing to do with New Year resolutions!
Of course, as Christians we would all want to say that it is our intention and desire to become more Christ-like each day as a result of our living in a dynamic union with Christ enjoying his indwelling presence, but our progress can be imperceptibly slow - at least to ourselves! That should not however deter us from actively seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18. It’s not a pretty or glorifying sight to see believers growing old missing the grace of God and remaining self-centered and tetchy.

Changes in me came about quite unintentionally on my part. It was back in July when I was diagnosed as having prostate cancer, and that kind of discovery affects you, believe me! Suddenly I became aware just how much I needed God’s help and grace on a daily basis. Devotional times were no longer an option; now they were vital as I became keenly aware that my joy, my peace, my hope, my help and a lot more were to be found in Christ and nowhere else.

Let me just tell you of one very special moment for me these last months. When first faced with that kind of news your mind goes into overdrive as you begin to explore all the “What if..?” scenarios. Well that’s what I was busy doing last July (and satan was doing a good job offering suggestions) when the word of God literally fell into my lap. I had just inherited my grandfather’s preaching notes and was fingering through them, when a small card with the words ‘Sermon index’ scribbled on it, fell out. Turning it over, I discovered that it was one of my grandfather’s visiting cards, dated 1954, with these words on it: Whatsoever things are true, honourable – just – pure – lovely – of good report – any virtue – any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8. Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2Cor 10:5. Then it said this: ‘That the Lord may enable you in all things for His glory is my sincere prayer.’
Well, I grasped those words with both hands, and I can honestly tell you that it has been life-changing.

As we go into a New Year, I would encourage you to take hold of those same ‘God words’ for yourself and your situation, whatever it is, or whatever you may face in the year ahead. Don’t be ‘loose’ in your thinking! Don’t allow those ‘fear’ thoughts run their depressing course but instead, actively & prayerfully take them captive to Christ, and I assure you that peace and joy will follow!

Be blessed!