HOW. MUCH GLORY?

Ps. 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
This verse has always demanded my attention. It is extremely convicting to me, how could anyone ascribe the glory ‘due’ to His name? Impossible!!! He rescued us from our pit of despair that we had dug for ourselves and delivered us from the very pit of hell and brought us into His glorious presence. How much glory should I credit to Him for that? He has kept me from destruction and blessed me beyond belief in my personal life, with my wife and children, and in my ministry. How much glory is due to Him for all of that? He has filled me again and again with the joy that comes from God Himself; how much glory should I ascribe to Him for that? Spurgeon also seemed to be overwhelmed by a continual need to worship. Here is some of what he said about worshipping the Lord.

“The Lord always deserves to be praised for what he is in himself, for his works of creation and providence, for his goodness towards his creatures, and especially for the transcendent act of redemption, and all the marvelous blessing flowing therefrom. It is always beneficial to praise the Lord; it cheers the day and brightens the night; it lightens toil and softens sorrow; and over earthly gladness it sheds a sanctifying radiance which makes it less liable to blind us with its glare. Have we not something to sing about at this moment? Can we not weave a song out of our present joys, or our past deliverances, or our future hopes? Earth yields her summer fruits: the hay is housed, the golden grain invites the sickle, and the sun tarrying long to shine upon a fruitful earth, shortens the interval of shade that we may lengthen the hours of devout worship.”
It’s not just what He has done that cries for our worship, it is God Himself. His greatness is higher than the heavens, His love stretches beyond the horizon, and His mercy is deeper than the depths of the ocean. Worship is still my only recourse. His greatness demands me to shout for joy. Let the nations see His greatness, let my praises touch the world around me. Let everything that has breath give praise to the Lord.

GETTING READY FOR PENTECOST

Mic. 1:4 And the mountains will melt under him,
and the valleys will split open,

like wax before the fire,

like waters poured down a steep place.
Have you ever felt the real presence of the Lord? Before you answer too quickly, there are quite different degrees of feeling God’s presence. One experience stands out in my mind that happened late on a Saturday night about a year after I went to Bible School in California. We had a powerful night on the streets of Fresno passing out gospel tracts, witnessing, and doing a little street preaching. When I got home that night Parris was already asleep. I read a little from my Bible (that was 43 years ago and I still remember the chapter, Luke 12) and then began to pray in the Spirit. I remember being on my knees and feeling as if Jesus appeared in front of me. I was so terrified I couldn’t open my eyes to see Him, I didn’t need to!!! He was there and I knew it. There was no new direction from the Lord, just a deepening of His calling on my life. He was with me and pleased about the direction in my life. Here is a testimony from the Azusa Street Revival where Frank Bartleman talks about a similar encounter with the Lord.

“After a little time of quiet waiting, a great calm settled down upon us. Then suddenly, without premonition, the Lord Jesus himself revealed himself to us. He seemed to stand directly between us, so close we could have reached out our hands and touched Him. But we did not dare to move. I could not even look. In fact, I seemed all spirit. His presence seemed more real, if possible, than if I could have seen and touched Him naturally. I forgot I had eyes or ears. My spirit recognized Him. A heaven of divine love filled and thrilled my soul. Burning fire went through me. In fact, my whole being seemed to flow down before Him like wax before the fire. I lost all consciousness of time or space, being conscious only of His wonderful presence. I worshipped at His feet. It seemed a veritable “mount of transfiguration.” I was lost in the pure Spirit.”

There is nothing in this life that remotely compares with the visitations of the Lord. We need Him now more than ever. Come Lord!!!

COME DOWN LORD

Is. 64:1-3 ¶ Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

Christians have been known to argue about the strangest things. I can remember a guest speaker trying to correct our church because we had been asking the Lord to “come down”. The speaker was saying that The Lord was already here by faith. I get that but there are different ways of God “being here”. He is everywhere all the time but His presence isn’t manifest or perceived all the time. Like Isaiah prayed, Lord, “rend the heavens and come down”, when that happens you are talking about a whole new world. That is exactly what revival is, God come down in the midst of His people. That is what the Azusa Street Revival was, God came down In Los Angeles in 1906 and the world has never been the same. Tongues of fire, lives set on fire by the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, changed the world. Here is a short testimony by Frank Bartleman, a journalist who experienced Azusa Street.

“Someone might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fall upon the congregation. God himself would give the altar call. Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle, or rush for the altar en masse, to seek God. The scene often resembled a forest of fallen trees. Such a scene cannot be imitated. I never saw an altar call given in those early days. God himself would call them. And the preacher knew when to quit. When He spoke we all obeyed. It seemed a fearful thing to hinder or grieve the Spirit. The whole place was steeped in prayer. God was in His holy temple. It was for man to keep silent. The Shekinah glory rested there. In fact, some claim to have seen the glory by night over the building. I do not doubt it. I have stopped more than once within two blocks of the place and prayed for strength before I dared go on. “The presence of the Lord was so real.”
Lord, come down and invade our culture, our churches, our lives once again. We need Your presence to effect our secular world.

REMOVING THE VEIL

2 Cor. 3:16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

2Cor. 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I think we Christians take a lot of things for granted, especially those who have been a Christian for an extended period of time. It’s easy to forget what it was like to be spiritually blind. Secondly, we can slip into an apathetic mindset, living off of our belief system and not pressing in for a glimpse of His glory. Our Christian experience begins when the beams of the Son of Righteousness break through the darkness of our soul, we continue in Christ as we learn to walk in this light. Christianity is more than a creed, it is supernatural in nature. It is birthed by the glory of the Lord and it continues by the glory of the Lord. Without revelation we are no different than the lost. Here is how John Piper describes seeing the glory of the Lord.

“A Christian is a person who has turned to the Lord Jesus and has thus seen the glory of the Lord unveiled. “When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. . . . And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord . . .”. In other words, all believers have “turned to the Lord”—like Moses when he entered the tent. This experience of every Christian is supernatural. It does not come from merely human powers. In turning to Jesus, believers experience the work of the Holy Spirit. That is implied in Paul’s words, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. That is, the Spirit sets us free from the bondage of blindness and hardening….And this one great miracle of liberation from spiritual blindness is a gift. “For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”.
Spiritual awakenings bring large portions of the population under this spiritual light. Today, our world lies in darkness depending on human reason and what they call “science” to bring guidance into their lives. Christians are not dependent on man or his wisdom, our understanding of everything that exists comes directly from the creator of science. When we turn to the Lord the veil is taken away and we begin to see the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ.

UNVEILED

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

God veiled in human flesh, that’s who Jesus was when He walked among us on earth. Deity veiled in humanity, strength cloaked by weakness, majesty enclosed in humility, that’s the amazing way that God came and lived among mankind. That’s why so many people missed Him then and still miss Him today. People are looking for a different kind of savior. The vast majority of the population look for a king who takes care of their every need, that’s what Judas was after, one who would keep the coffers full and give him a position of prominence in the kingdom. When Jesus started talking about a spiritual kingdom and about dying all the trouble started, they hadn’t signed up for that, they wanted their best life right now on earth. John Piper speaks about this hidden glory, check this out.

“That’s the way he put it more than once. “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here”. “Something greater than Jonah is here. . . . Something greater than Solomon is here”. This kind of veiled claim runs through all that Jesus said and did. For those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear, something unimaginably great—and glorious—is here. The Veil Is Lifted Then there were words that were not at all veiled, and indeed were blasphemously self exalting—unless they were true. He commanded evil spirits and all the forces of nature, and they obeyed him. He issued forgiveness for sins, which only God can do. He summoned people to leave all and follow him in order to have eternal life. He said he would stand at the judgment day and declare who will enter heaven and who will not. And he made the astonishing claim that “everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven”
How is the veil removed? It is removed by grace through faith. The grace of God opens our hearts and the light of God’s glory comes shining in, then we see Him for ourselves. He is the only begotten Son of God and He has made me His by offering Himself on the cross. Oh, by the way, He is no longer veiled by His human body. He is still a human all right, but resurrected glory is shining out from Him. He is the King of Glory and He reigns today at the Father’s right hand.

SEEING THE GLORY

2Cor. 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Salvation is an amazing thing. It is not based on our efforts but is entirely dependent on supernatural revelation. That is especially hard in our secular world, everything is so predictable and dependent on human talent and human effort. Something supernatural makes humans really uncomfortable because it places us in a place of total weakness and total dependency on something way out of our control. That “something” is the Lord and that thing that He does is a total work of grace. Unexplainable light begins to shine into our hearts from hearing or reading the Word of God. We become aware of our sinfulness, His mercy, and His power to change our lives. Like today’s verse says, we are transformed, totally and absolutely recreated into different kinds of people. The work of God is thorough, our very nature is different. Here is how John Piper describes it.

“This new birth, “through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23), gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). This supernaturally given, spiritual sight of the glory of God in Christ is the ground of saving faith. God is seen with the eyes of the heart as truly as the eyes of our head see the sun in the sky. And this sight of the glory of God in Christ compels us. It is no more resistible than the enjoyment of your favorite food is resistible when it is in your mouth. And so it is when God becomes your favorite, by the opening of your eyes to see his convincing and enthralling beauty. To see him as supreme in beauty is to desire him above all.”

There is a suddenness as well as a long slow effect of this life change. For many, there is a dramatic life change almost instantaneously. For those who continue in His word, the supernatural change happens the rest of their lives. We are being changed from one degree of glory to another.

GRASSHOPPERS

Is. 40:22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,

Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
Isaiah had a good perspective about the greatness of God and the littleness of man. He said we are like grasshoppers in comparison to the immensity of the Almighty. Where did Isaiah get this perspective? It started with his calling to be a prophet. Remember what he said? “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple”. That’s it, Isaiah saw the Lord. Once you catch a glimpse of Him your perspective of man changes, you see man as God does, kind of like grasshoppers. So if you are hung up on your own accomplishments and think you are simply better than most, just one glimpse of the only great One will change all of that. Here are some thoughts from Tozer on today’s topic.

“Compared to Him, everything around us in this world shrinks in stature and significance. It is all a little business compared to Him—little churches with little preachers; little authors and little editors; little singers and little musicians; little deacons and little officials; little educators and little statesmen; little cities and little men and little things! Brethren, humankind is so smothered under the little grains of dust that make up the world and time and space and matter that we are prone to forget that at one point God lived and dwelt and existed and loved without support, without help, and without creation. Such is the causeless and self-existent God! This God with whom we deal has never had to receive anything from anybody. There is no one and nothing to whom God has ever been in debt.”
This truth hit me like a ton of bricks one day about 23 years ago. I thought I was better than most and I took credit for the accomplishments and success of our ministry. That changed in one moment on the floor at a church in Rockwall, Texas. All I know is that I caught a glimpse of God’s greatness and my smallness when the glory of the Lord fell on me that day. Church has never been the same and I have never been the same. I saw myself and everyone else as grasshoppers in a moment of time, I’m just glad Jesus loves grasshoppers.