‘The family style’

Selwyn writes in his conclusion for this study, the following: “We end our meditations where we began by affirming that without a knowledge of our Father’s ways, we can soon find ourselves overcome by worry, frustration and fear. … “

It’s important to take hold of the fact that Jesus loves you – there will be times when we will may not understand the reason for His actions, but we can trust in His goodness. In all things, Jesus is working to turn them into something spiritually good for us.

The Holy Spirit knows when we become worried and frustrated – when obstacles are placed in our path and progress appears impossible. In times of weakness He will provide the strength to carry on; He does this because He is our Father and we are His children, and nothing will block or divert His love for His children.

We are family!

Man’s chief end

Selwyn makes the excellent point in today’s study that by placing God in His rightful place and giving Him the glory – His position deserves  – then we can fully enjoy our relationship with Him.

I also liked his conclusion: “Believe me, our glorifying of the Lord here on earth is but a trickle compared to the full flood that will flow out to us when we see Him face to face.”

We cannot make too much of God’s holiness and majesty; whatever we may imagine God to be like – the one thing I know is that we will always fail to comprehend just how amazing He is, that to be in His presence will give us complete purpose and peace.

I was reading the text for today – Isaiah 43:1-7, and I continued reading for a few more verses; the following are fantastic (Isaiah 43: 10-13, NIV): ‘ “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed – I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” ‘

I think that if we had a really clear picture of what God is like (in terms of holiness and awesome power), then we would lead revolutionary lives (as compared to the way we currently live). Your thoughts?

It is so right

Selwyn in his introduction, says: “We must dwell a little longer on the thought that one of the reasons why God insists on us giving Him honour and glory is because He knows that by so doing, we complete ourselves.”

There is deep within our sinful human nature, a desire to be like God, and to seek our own honour and glory. If, we hold onto the truth that there is no honour and glory that we can rightfully seek for ourselves then we take the first step towards spiritual maturity. It is, in a sense, knowing our place in this created world and being content with the situation.

The first eight verses of Psalm 92 (part of the text, set for reading and meditation) present another way of looking at this issue:It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!

Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted. … “

‘Not fully awake’

In today’s study, we read: “Another reason why God insists on us bringing to Him all the honour and glory is this – the more we do this, the more we complete ourselves. … In failing to honour God, I do not just deprive Him, I also deprive myself.”

As I indicated yesterday, the more we understand the nature of God – the more we naturally ascribe to Him the honour and glory, which is His. Those who are slaves to their sinful nature, those who go about saying that there is no God, are blind and deaf.

They cannot see His awesome majesty. They cannot hear the voices in heaven say: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty (Rev. 4:8).’ They cannot have a relationship with the one all-powerful Creator, who can save them from death.

I like the following verses from 1 Peter 1:13-23 and 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV): “ … with minds that are alert and fully sober (awake), set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as Jesus who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Jesus was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

… you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

In summary, if you are not willing to fall on your knees in front of our living, all-powerful God then you are living in darkness – call out to Him so that He can lead you into life!

Worthy of all honour

I liked the introduction to today’s study: “We come now to face the question why does God insist on taking all the honour and glory to Himself? Firstly – because He has a right to it. … God is not just the originator of our massive universe, but, as our text for today shows. He is constantly at work supporting and upholding it.”

The text Selwyn is referring to, is Hebrews 1:1-4 (NIV): “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. … “

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s important to have some understanding of God’s awesomeness so that we can better understand the relationship He has with us. In Psalm 111:10, we read:The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Likewise in Psalm 25:14-15, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”

To have the smallest insight into God’s power enables us to trust in His word – the promises He has made. That is, we can have the assurance of our salvation through Jesus – because God has the power and authority to deliver on His promises. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus – surely that must encourage us all – to persevere.

An important pause

Selwyn writes: “We saw yesterday that if we do not understand why God insists on getting all the glory and honour for Himself (because only He, deserves it), then we may find ourselves vying with Him for honour and attention. … Let’s pause again to recognise and deal with this terrible tendency we have to judge and interpret God’s ways in the light of our own.”

In Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV), we hear God say: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,     neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. … “

It’s a relationship issue; we either see Jesus as our Lord and God, or we see Him as only a man. The way we see God determines our entire outlook on life – it’s that simple.

God insists on it

In today’s study – Selwyn introduces another characteristic of God – that He requires all honour and glory be given to Him.

I guess that he will discuss this issue in greater detail over the next few days, but it should be mentioned that this aspect of God’s way, is really designed for our protection. In that, we don’t seek ‘glory’ for ourselves, based on our own will. As Selwyn states later, unless this concept is locked into our hearts there will be occasions when we compete with God for acknowledgement and attention.

I agree with Selwyn, that it is a great joy when we totally ascribe to Him all the honour, glory and praise. It’s a joy, which arises when we have confidence in our relationship with God, knowing and understanding that we are the created, and He is the Creator. If, we stray into that area where we compete with God for honour and praise, which is rightfully His – it’s an attempt to be God like; then, we follow the path of the first Adam.

And, that’s a fatal path to follow!

Isaiah 42: 5-9 (NIV), an extract taken from today’s reading, puts what is written above – into context: ” … This is what God the Lord says – the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it.

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison  and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

As you can see from the verses taken from Isaiah – we have a God who is in total control (including control of the future), we can do nothing outside of His creation. Consequently, we can do nothing which deserves any honour or glory – in a spiritual sense, there is nothing we can claim as our own work (work that has had no input from God) on the last day – when our work is judged.

Your thoughts?