The Glory of God

Today’s reading is Revelation 15.

When the Babylonians took Solomon’s temple apart, the glory of God was gone. When Zerubbabel and Joshua rebuilt the temple, however, there was no visible manifestation of the Lord’s glory. When Herod refurbished the temple, there was no manifestation of the Lord’s glory in the temple. However, under Jesus Christ, the sanctuary not made with hands in the heavens is full of the glory of the Lord. Here is the picture of victory. In fact, it is the same picture that demonstrated victory in Exodus. We often think the crossing of the Red Sea is the climax of Exodus. Not so. The climax is when the glory of the Lord enters the tabernacle. God had sent the plagues on the enemies, He had delivered Israel through the Red Sea, He had brought them to Mt. Sinai. But the climax is when God shows His abiding presence by entering the tabernacle. That is exactly what is going on here. God has sent plagues of judgment and will continue to do so in the next chapter. But the real glory is that He is in the midst of His people. He takes residence in the sanctuary, which is His church. The promises of restoration are fulfilled not in a temple rebuilt on earth, but in the heavenly temple of God’s house. Praise the Lord! He dwells with His people.

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 16.

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I Don’t Get to Know Everything

Today’s reading is Revelation 10.

How frustrating! Is God taunting us? Here are seven thunders that said something, but He doesn’t let us know what. Why even make us aware that the seven thunders sounded? Perhaps because we need to understand 1) God knows what we don’t and 2) we don’t get to know everything. However, do you catch what happens next? The angel announces that in the seventh trumpet the mystery of God would be fulfilled just as he announced to His prophets. That is, the mysteries that benefit us, that help us, that we need to know, we get to know. He reveals those to us. Let’s face it. Whether we like it or not, our human minds cannot handle all that God knows. But our God is a good God and reveals all we need to know. The question isn’t whether we should get to know what was in the thunders, the question is whether we will listen to what God has revealed. What about today? Will you spend more time worrying about what God hasn’t revealed, or more time living by what He has?

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 11.

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Worship

Today’s reading is Revelation 4.

I find it interesting and a little bit challenging, when I search my photo stock using the word “worship,” especially connected with images of “Christian worship,” I am inundated with pictures of people standing up, eyes closed, faces to heaven, arms upstretched. However, when I look through the Bible at pictures of worship, what I find (Old and New Testaments) is people falling down, laying on the ground, bowing, casting off crowns. Don’t get me wrong, I know men are to lift holy hands in prayer. I know through Jesus Christ we are forgiven and undefiled, therefore we have confident access to God’s presence, and we don’t have to come into it with self-flagellation, scraping on the floor, and begging for entrance. Therefore, I don’t want to establish some bodily posture rule about worship. Nor do I want to paint with such a broad brush as to say every prostrate worshiper has the right mindset and every upright worshiper does not. But I wonder if this stark contrast in the majority of “pictures” between modern Google and ancient Bible demonstrates some kind of shift in our view of worship. Obviously, each of us must examine our own heart regarding what we are doing in worship. Here is what I do know. No matter how we are sitting, standing, laying prostrate, raising hands, worship is the casting down of our own selves and our own worthiness before the Lord who is the only worthy One. Whether our bodies lie prostrate or not, worship is the prostration of our hearts and minds before a holy God who was and is and is to come, who is worthy to receive glory and honor and power because He is creator and we are creation. And whether we are actively involved in a worship action or not, this must be the state of our heart before God at all times. He is worthy. Praise God!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 5

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God is Love, not Romance

Today’s reading is 1 John 4.

We love because God is love. We love because God loves. We love because real love is from God. We love as God loves. However, God is not romance. God is not romantic feelings. God is not infatuation. God is not sexual attraction. God is love. Sadly, our modern culture blurs the lines between all these things. Because someone feels sexual attraction or infatuation or even romantic devotion, our world calls it love and says it must be divine and divinely sanctioned. That is not what God is. God is love. How does God love? By sending His Son to be the sacrifice to save us from our sins. Loving like God does not mean pursuing others we find sexually attractive or marrying those we feel romantic inclinations for. Loving like God means sacrificing ourselves and our interests in order to serve the salvation interests of those around us. God is love. He is not romance.

Monday’s reading is 1 John 5

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Know God

Today’s reading is John 17.

Pop Quiz: Where and when did Jesus say, “Know thyself”? 

Pop Quiz#2: Where and when did Jesus say, “To thine own self be true”?

How did you do? Do you remember when Jesus said those things? If you are having trouble remembering, don’t beat yourself up. Jesus didn’t say either of those things. Neither did Paul. Neither did any other person in biblical history. The first is actually attributed to Socrates. The second to Polonius in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Imagine that. Neither one of these statements came from Jesus. Do you know what did come from Jesus? “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In a world focused on the idolatry of self, it might do us good to remember that today, I need to spend more time getting to know God than getting to know myself. By extension, if I start by being true to God, I will be true to myself and others as well. What are your next steps for getting to know God better?

Tomorrow’s reading is John 18

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God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters

Today’s reading is John 7.

Why does the issue of authority matter? Is it because we have to prove we are better at keeping rules? Is it because if we don’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is we’ll go to hell? Is it because we have to earn our way into heaven by following the pattern? No. None of these things is the reason. The reason authority matters is because God’s glory matters. When I act on my own authority, I’m seeking my own glory. When I’m seeking God’s glory, I act on His authority. It’s just that simple. Whose glory are you seeking? How can you tell?

Tomorrow’s reading is John 8

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I Know Whom I Have Believed

Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 1.

Paul was unashamed. Why? Because he knew whom he had believed. He knew who God was. He knew what God was capable of. He knew what God had promised. He knew he could trust God. Jesus has abolished death and brought life and immortality through the gospel. Paul knew it and was convinced. So, no matter what the world dished out, no matter what society said about him or did to him, he would be unashamed of Jesus. He would wear Jesus like a badge of honor. May we be so convicted that no matter the shame society tries to heap on us, we will revel in believing Jesus and belonging to Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Timothy 2.

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