Christianity 201

August 19, 2017

God is In Control

A music video today; one that was filmed at a time when the criteria and expectations for music videos were not the same as today. Twila Paris (and her sister Starla, don’t you love the names?) grew up on a base of Youth With A Mission. Her own story is worth knowing.

This isn’t typical of songs in today’s modern worship environment, but I have reasons for including it here.

For one, the question of “Where is God when bad things happen?” along with “How can a loving God allow suffering?” continue to top the lists of theological questions asked by believers and non-believers alike.

A strong declaration that God is, indeed, in control is, in my opinion, as needful as the song that says “How Great is our God.”

But the skeptic will ask, “Is God in control of the details of individual lives, or is God simply overseeing the big picture?” Psalm 139 speaks of a God whose ‘micro’ focus is detailed to the point of seeing the ‘knitting together’ of the baby in its mother’s womb. God is the author of a big picture story, but the idea that “He’s got the whole world in His hands” — an equally viable, although somewhat dated expression of worship — simply by definition must extend to the ‘macro’ picture and the ‘micro’ picture.

God’s either in control of everything or He’s not in control of anything.

But here’s the question: What’s your definition of “control?”

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose the remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

God is in control….

Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

February 25, 2017

Five Aspects of God’s Glory

Today we return to catch up with Tanya Nemley who blogs at God Speaks I Listen. Click the title below to read this at its source, complete with graphics.

The Glory of God

First before I get into my thoughts and God’s word about this incredible topic of the Glory of God I want to say that my words are PITIFUL!!! Yes…really so pitiful that I almost don’t want to write this because of what Gods’ glory means. Compared to where He is and who He is what can I truly say? I’m glad I’m typing this because my lip can do His glorious majesty no justice!

Exodus 33:18,21-22 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” Then God answered Moses:

But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.

God…”show me your glory” should be the prayers of us all! Why? Because when you have experienced the glory of God it will motivate you to want more of God. It will also motivate you to want others to see Gods glory through your life. Why else would God reveal any of His glory with us?

There are different aspects of God’s glory so let’s break it down:

  1. There’s His physical Glory or glory from His presence. Revelation 21:21-23   And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
  2. There is the glory that comes from what has been done as a result of His children’s obedience and living a righteous life. Ephesian 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  3.  There’s the glory that comes from Gods creativity i.e. the universe, planets, and stars. Isaiah 6:3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  
  4. There is Glory that comes from God blessing His children with victories, miracles and answered prayers. John 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
  5. There is glory that can give you strength when you are going through the absolute worst situation. Stephen is getting ready to be murdered.   Acts 7:55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;

God gets the glory for everything good and holy that emanates from Him and He gets all the glory for all good things on this earth! No one else is responsible for goodness. Only God has that kind of power and is power.

The word glory according to the dictionary means brilliance, radiance, honor, renowned, highly praiseworthy, fame, admiration or someone impressive. All of these terms don’t come anywhere close to describing God’s glory.

God’s glory is His perfection and His holiness. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 We fall short now because we can’t be 100% holy and perfect. This can only happen when we make the transition to heaven. In fact we will be in it!

God’s glory cannot be contained. The more I speak about this the more I feel I falling short.

As we learn more about the attributes of God such as His glory we will grow to know Him more. We always have to work on knowing Him because we can’t see Him. So ponder about the Glory of God.

Today I challenge you to pray the Moses prayer Exodus 33:18,21-22 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” I pray that you experience the “Glory of God”!!!!!


Read more: Here’s another more topical article from the same author: Horoscopes and Mediums – Don’t Do It.

May 6, 2012

As The Wind… — Hearing God in Creation

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:20 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
    the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.

~Psalm 19: 1, Common English Bible

First, a quotation from Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition by Jay Edwards1:

With respect to the environment, the theological principles are easily stated and uncontroversial. The biblical picture is that human beings, as image bearers of God, are placed as stewards over the created order. We bear a responsibility for how we treat and use it. We are part of the creation, as well as its crowning achievement. God intends for us to use and transform the natural world around us for good purposes.

I wrote about finding worship moments a few years ago2:

…that time when you are just overcome by the beauty of creation and you have to stop and thank God for what He has made, and worship Him for being able to make it.

But not all worship moments involve emotional intensity, there are some that equal the fervor of a Sunday morning worship time in a Charismatic church, but there are others where you don’t respond the same, but in your heart, there is no doubt about giving credit to Whom credit is due…

…Each one of us has different things in creation which remind us of the greatness of God. The heavens do indeed tell the splendor of God’s glory (the macro) and the earth provides the details of His creative engineering (the micro). Day after day, nature repeats this message to us like a flashing beacon; night after night nature provides the information. What matters is that we need to formulate some response to all that we see.

Today, my wife Ruth invites us to let creation guide our prayers:

Based on a poem by Christina Rossetti, this short meditation invites you to hear God’s voice through his creation. Turn up your speakers and pray along, opening your heart for what the Lord has for you.

1 as cited by Kevin DeYoung, April 22, 2010
2 Finding Your Worship Moments at Christianity 201, April 28, 2010

August 18, 2011

Indescribable King

This is post number 500 here at Christianity 201, and it seems fitting that it includes a video clip which is so familiar to so many people through its widespread use as a church video a few years ago, but may be new to many others as well.  It’s S. M. Lockridge’s sermon excerpt, That’s My King.  (If you’ve seen it before, maybe it’s time to view it again!)

Usually, if there’s a video clip here, it’s a worship song.  I am convinced that if you are involved in worship planning, there are three worship themes with which you can’t ever go wrong:

  • communion, Lord’s supper, Christ’s death, Christ’s sacrifice, atonement
  • personal surrender to God
  • God’s attributes, particularly his greatness and majesty

The last category is where we land today.  All the most popular worship songs in the last decade — Majesty, Shout to the Lord, How Great is our God — are songs which speak to the indescribable greatness of God.

S. M. Lockridge (born Shadrach Meshach Lockridge!) pastored in Texas and California and was active in the civil rights movement.   You can read more about him at Wikipedia.

His words are most fitting for a blog which has as its aim being Christ-centered, and so well-suit being the 500th post here.

Here is the full text (click the ‘more’ button if it’s all not visible):

My King was born King.
The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King.
He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King.
He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King.
He’s the King of righteousness.
He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of glory.
He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords.
Now that’s my King. (more…)

April 30, 2011

Unfashionable Worship

A shorter post today to make up for yesterday! This is from the worship.com blog where it appeared under the title, Worshipping Unfashionably.

Isaiah 6 teaches us something foundational about public worship. If you read the first few verses you’ll notice the first thing Isaiah encounters in the house of God is the glory of God. It doesn’t first say he encountered friendly faces or hot coffee, or soft bagels or a booming sound system. It says he encountered the glory of God. In the Bible, the glory of God is God’s “heaviness”, his powerful presence. It is God’s prevailing excellence on display. In God’s house, Isaiah meets a God who is majestically in command.

What does this mean for our worship services? It means we ought to come, first and foremost, expecting to encounter the glory of God–his powerful presence. We should come ready to sing of who he is and hear of what he’s done. We come to feel the grief of our sin so that we can feel the glory of his salvation. We come, in other words, to see God on display, not preachers or musicians. A worship service is not the place to showcase human talent. It’s the place for God to showcase his Divine treasure.  A worship service that contains the power to change you is a worship service that leaves you with grand impressions of Divine personality, not grand impressions of human personality.

Isaiah did not leave the temple thinking, “What great music, what a great building, what a great preacher.” He left thinking, “What a great God.” This is why songs and sermons need to be about God first. Everything done in worship ought to communicate God because it is God and God alone who can transform your life and mine. Seeing me will not help you. Seeing God is the only thing truly capable of moving you from one place to another. This is why John Piper rightly asks, “How shall entertaining worship services – with the aim of feeling light hearted and friendly – help a person prepare to suffer, let alone prepare to die?”

March 29, 2011

We’re a Big Deal

Those cute (or annoying depending on your perspective) talking vegetables known as the Veggie Tales cast may tell you that “God made you special and he loves you very much;” but did you ever consider that “being made special” actually brings God glory?  It has to.  The creation speaks as to its creator.  John Fischer, at the blog The Catch, recently blogged this under the title, Big Deal:

Job argued with God. Moses bargained with Him. Jacob wrestled with Him. Nehemiah changed His mind. What do these amazing stories tell us about God if it isn’t that He wants a relationship with us probably more than we want one with Him. What does it tell us about God if He is willing to be persuaded, cajoled, bargained with and wrestled? It tells us He created us like Him so we could participate in a relationship with Him that means something in terms of integrity. It’s no small thing for God to be swayed by a puny human being, but such is the wonder of His will.

The Psalmist has declared a similar wonder when he wrote, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us? For you made us only a little lower than the angels, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things—the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents” (Psalms 8:3-8 NLT).

In other words: What’s the big deal here? We’re the big deal. Does this bring us glory? Yes, but that only brings Him more. That He would create us with this much power and authority says a lot about our Creator and what He created us for. He created us with intelligence and emotions. He created us like Him so He could relate to us and we could relate to Him. And He gave us the right to refuse Him, accept Him, argue with Him, badger Him—even tell Him to get lost if that’s what we want to do. Think about that. Even unbelief has integrity. What kind of God would create a being that might not even believe in Him? A God who wants a relationship with him when he does.

That’s why the very next verse of this Psalm reads, “O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth” (Psalm 8:9)! We are part and parcel of God’s glory. That He would do it this way—that He would create a world, people it with beings like Him, and then give them authority over that world—even the opportunity to believe Him or not—says as much about Him as it does about us. You and I are a big part of God’s glory. Imagine what we could accomplish if we really believed this!

~ John Fischer

November 1, 2010

Worship His Majesty: Extra Verses

As I explained today at Thinking Out Loud; I wasn’t sure yesterday which post should go on which blog, so today they’re reversed.   Except you guys get a video, too!


Recently, the topic of writing extra verses to worship songs and hymns has come up here and in other forums. There are times that a particular worship service almost demands some additional lyrics, and as long as you’re not making a recording, and the verses are consistent with the spirit of the original, I would encourage worship leaders to do this.

We spent the weekend looking for some that I did many, many years ago when the chorus Majesty by Jack Hayford was popular.  If you don’t the original first verse, it’s posted below with lyrics on the video. We decided to post them here for safekeeping! (Musicians: There’s a few ties and triplets used here to make the rhythm work.)

Liberty. Glorious liberty.
He has loosed the chains and weights
that imprisoned my soul
Liberty. Setting my Spirit free.
Taking away guilt and disgrace
Making me whole

So arise, sound forth His praise
Your sins are forgiven
Jesus Christ, with His own life
Has brought our release

Liberty. Glorious liberty.
Once we were slaves, now we are saved
Forevermore.


Victory. Living in victory
For Christ Jesus has conquered the forces of sin
Victory. Permanent victory
Casting out fear; casting out death
Assuring we win

So stand up, go forth to fight
knowing we triumph.
Not by human power and might
By His Spirit alone.

Victory. Eternal victory.
Leading the way, through all life’s days
Taking me home.

additional lyrics © 1991 Paul Wilkinson

August 31, 2010

God is in Control

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Another music video today; one that was filmed at a time when the criteria and expectations for music videos were not the same as today.   Twila Paris (and her sister Starla, don’t you love the names?) grew up on a base of Youth With A Mission.   Her own story is worth knowing.

Some would question the “value” of this song in today’s modern worship environment, but I have reasons for including it here.

For one, the question of “Where is God when bad things happen?” along with “How can a loving God allow suffering?” continue to top the lists of theological questions asked by believers and non-believers alike.

A strong declaration that God is, indeed, in control is, in my opinion, as needful as the song that says “How Great is our God.”

But the skeptic will ask, “Is God in control of the details of individual lives, or is God simply overseeing the big picture?”    Psalm 139 speaks of a God whose ‘micro’ focus is detailed to the point of seeing the ‘knitting together’ of the baby in its mother’s womb.    God is the author of a big picture story, but the idea that “He’s got the whole world in His hands” — an equally viable, although somewhat dated expression of worship — simply by definition must extend to the ‘macro’ picture and the ‘micro’ picture.

God’s either in control of everything or He’s not in control of anything.

But here’s the question:  What’s your definition of “control?”

This is no time for fear

This is a time for faith and determination

Don’t lose the vision here

Carried away by emotion

Hold on to all that you hide in your heart

There is one thing that has always been true

It holds the world together

God is in control

We believe that His children will not be forsaken

God is in control

We will choose the remember and never be shaken

There is no power above or beside Him, we know

God is in control

History marches on

There is a bottom line drawn across the ages

Culture can make its plan

Oh, but the line never changes

No matter how the deception may fly

There is one thing that has always been true

It will be true forever

God is in control….

He has never let you down

Why start to worry now?

He is still the Lord of all we see

And He is still the loving Father

Watching over you and me

August 30, 2010

Caedman’s Call: Who You Are

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:27 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m so glad someone posted this song.   Caedman’s Call have a great ‘listening’ worship song here; though increasingly some Churches are adding pieces with greater complexity.

I love the line, “You opened your arms / You call me into salvation / Your infinite love / Echoes in all creation.”

When I was young
You were my breath and heartbeat
Born in the dark
You were the hand that held me
You opened your arms
You call me into salvation
Your infinite love
Echoes in all creation

For who You are
You’re the great I am
For who You are
You’re the son of man
For who You are
I am who I am

Father of grace
I am a child of mercy
Inside my heart
And all around me I see the glory

Of who You are
You’re the great I am…

You pull me out of darkness
You pulled me out of all my emptiness
You are Your instrument of praise

Who You are
You’re the great I am…

June 27, 2010

How Great Our God Is

With all the other songs I’ve embedded on this blog, how could I not do this one?  This is a 7-minute version of what has become the worship anthem of the past two years or so.  “Sing with me, ‘How great is our God.'”

May 11, 2010

I Will Be Still and Know You Are God

Can’t get this song off my mind this week.   Take 6 minutes and 11 seconds to enjoy:

Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

Chorus 1
When the oceans rise
And thunders roar
I will soar with You
Above the storm
Father You are King
Over the flood
I will be still and know
You are God

Verse 2

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

by Reuben Morgan © 2002 Hillsong Publishing (Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music)