Sometimes you have to search across the globe to find good Christian music. Today’s group is from Scandinavia. HB is a Christian symphonic metal band that formed in Forssa, Finland in 2002. While this sound may not be your cup of tea, the lyrics point listeners in the right direction with God Has All Glory just as John the Baptist guided his followers toward Jesus as the One to follow.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.,”) John 1:14-15.
The gospel of John begins with Creation and introduces readers to the Holy Trinity in chapter one. This quick summary highlights the fact that God has all glory, honor, and is worthy to be praised. HB’s song does this in an unique manner, but in the body of Christ, we are all one in Jesus, Colossians 3:11. Therefore, may you celebrate the diversity in Christ Jesus as you glorify God.
Terms are a word or phrase used to describe a thing or to express a concept, especially in a particular kind of language or branch of study. In the context of the Bible, the Old Testament begins with Plan A, B, and C. Genesis begins with the creation of human beings, designed to become stewards of this newly formed planet. However, when this authority over the earth was lost in the Garden of Eden, a new plan was set into motion, Genesis 3:15. Plan B was briefly altered in Genesis 6:13 as God hit the reset button when desecration, a lust for power, and violence spread throughout the world. Plan C was forced to take a detour as well, Genesis 11:3-5 as human motivation did not coincide with the Lord’s grand design.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. 3 And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves], Genesis 12:2-3.
When the dust settled, the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose of God was re-established with Abraham and fulfilled by Jesus, John 3:16-17. However, when you try to understand the countless whys along the way, King Solomon says it best in Ecclesiastes 3:11. “God will make everything beautiful in His time.” Like an artist who spares no expense or time until their work is complete, the apostle Paul details the eternal and timeless purposes in Romans 8:28-29. Each individual life is a blank tapestry, prepared in advance by God, Philippians 1:6, brought to completion as you yield control of your life over to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10. As Christians become recreated in Jesus, mindsets change to see yourself as one of God’s works in progress, Ephesians 2:10.
[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere. 11 This is in accordance with the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which He has realized and carried into effect in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord, Ephesians 3:10-11.
Perhaps this explains the words of King Solomon, warning those who try to push God off to the side, Proverbs 19:21. No matter how frustrating it may be, God’s plans don’t always coincide with your heart’s desire, Proverbs 16:9. When your steps are altered, you have to realize that your time table is different from God’s. Like the process of sanctifying grace, this gradual change takes a lifetime to be completed. To follow these terms, perseverance is a necessary attribute if you want to finish what God began in you, Hebrews 12:1. While I don’t always comprehend or understand God’s eternal and timeless purposes, Christians are called to be faithful, not always successive. Whenever you are in this journey called life, make a decision to follow Jesus so you can become all that God wants you to be.
As someone who pursued civil engineering for a year in college, there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project. This satisfaction inspired me to design over 20 golf courses on an old Cad software program. Although I have never been commissioned to design a real golf course, I have images sketched in my mind of what this piece of property will be transformed into when the opportunity arises. Perhaps, this degree of planning explains why God was so pleased with His finished creation on earth.
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them, Genesis 1:26-27.
Creation is the action and process of bringing something into existence. Based upon the passage above, the Trinity came together to collaborate on this masterpiece. Genesis one provides a day by day summary of God’s progress of transforming an empty wasteland. Upon bringing life to planet earth and the universe around it, God was filled with a sense of joy. Like putting the finishing touches on a Mona Lisa, Creation was completed in six days. Thus, God rested on the seventh to appreciate what was finished.
For a man ought not to wear anything on his head [in church], for he is the image and [reflected] glory of God [his function of government reflects the majesty of the divine Rule]; but woman is [the expression of] man’s glory (majesty, preeminence), 1 Corinthians 11:7.
While reflecting upon Creation, the apostle Paul uses a couple of interesting terms. The creation of Adam is referred to as the reflected glory of God. Meanwhile, Eve’s formation out of a rib from Adam is described as the expression of man’s glory. While these words would be considered chauvinist today, this is how first century men depicted creation. Instead of getting sidetracked by divisive words, each human being who walks the face of the earth is a precious treasure, a reflection of God’s glory.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus first used the term Logos 600 years before Jesus’ birth. Heraclitus was searching for a term to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. As written in the Greek Lexicon, λογόs refers to a word uttered by a living voice that embodies a concept or idea. This is the term that the disciple whom Jesus loved uses in the opening chapter of his gospel.
So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it, Isaiah 55:11.
John gets right to his point in the opening verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” Unlike any other human being, Jesus resided in heaven prior to being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Subsequently, John introduces the concept of the trinity, three personalities within one supreme God. Thus, the creator of the universe came down to earth to bring light to an ever darkening world as a living WORD.
Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
In his second letter to a teenage pastor, the apostle Paul explains how the Bible was God inspired over several thousand years. The author of Hebrews refers to this book as living and active, like a double edged sword which allows a soldier to move from a defensive to offensive position in one motion. Isaiah, who was sawed in two for his faith, understood the power of God’s Word as described in the passage above. However, the greatest aspect of the Bible is that each time you open these living pages a new message is received, a fresh perspective on life. As you study the Bible in 2020, may you feel and sense the presence of the power of the WORD.
Any book, drama or story has it’s own twists and turns. The Bible is no exception as Genesis describes a moment in history when God second guesses the creation of mankind. The author claims that the Lord regretted his decision to make human beings, disappointed by their actions on earth. The flood served as a do over, a way to re-shape the earth with descendants of Noah.
And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them. But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord, Genesis 6:6-8.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for members of Noah’s family to let God down as well. Shortly after the flood waters receded, Noah built a vineyard. According to Genesis 9:21, Noah got so drunk one night that he passed out naked on the floor, unable to make it to his bed. Apparently, the sinful nature conceived in the Garden of Eden had corrupted Noah as well. Instead of covering up his father’s indiscretion, Canaan joked about this, bringing it to his brothers attention.
And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end. 15 So when you see the appalling sacrilege [the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place—let the reader take notice and] ponder and consider and heed [this]—Matthew 24:14-15.
Just prior to his betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus speaks of another disaster. Many scholars refer to this as the un-creation. According to Jesus, when the Great Commission has been fulfilled, the gospel preached to every tribe and nation on earth, earth as we know it will come to an end. To prepare and warn those who are willing to listen, Jesus leaves behind a series of signs to observe. The final indicator refers to an abomination that will stand in the Holy Place. Old Testament prophets also refer to this event as well.
The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up, 2 Peter 3:9-10.
One of Jesus’ disciples has a vision of this un-creation in the passage above. Immediately following the second coming of Jesus, also known as the rapture, a series a tribulations will systematically destroy the earth. While cable television shows concoct far fetched theories about the destruction of earth, the book of Revelation unveils how the un-creation will play out. The point of this future event is to get your life right with God through confession, James 5:16, so that you and your family don’t get left behind.
The first class that I taught as a Middle School Bible teacher at Red Lion was entitled Wise Up: the Book of Proverbs. While the textbook was waterer down more than I cared for, the premise of this book was spot on. God established boundaries in the Bible to protect individuals from harm while keeping evil out. Those who know, learn and practice these principles replace chaos with structure.
So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; Genesis 2:15-16.
In the days following Creation, the Garden of Eden served as an oasis in the desert. This hidden paradise was given to Adam with two simple expectations, cultivate and maintain this tropical paradise. The Lord gave Adam and Eve free reign of this garden, able to eat fruit from every tree except for one. God’s only restriction (rule), was do not eat of the tree of knowledge. Obeying this rule kept Eden free from chaos.
But [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [h]die [because of your disobedience],” Genesis 2:17.
Moses does not detail how long it took for Lucifer to convince Eve to taste this forbidden fruit. However, ever since this decision known as Origin Sin persuaded this couple to disobey God, chaos has reigned on earth. Once Pandora’s Box has been opened, it’s impossible to alter the past. Yet, there is a way to restore order. The most logical step is to rplace chaos is by practicing godly principles from the Bible.
As one of the newest members of the AARP club, this is a sign of getting old. Yet, as I reflect upon my current state of relationships, time has caused me to forget and ignore special friendships from my past. Part of this is due to my desire to be a good father, spending as much time with my children as possible. Unfortunately, without a healthy balance at the moment, I am growing old and apart.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,” Genesis 2:18.
After creating the heavens and the earth, God recognized that a pet could not replace a human soul mate. Subsequently, the Lord created the first woman out of Adam’s rib. This miracle set the stage for the institution of marriage, Genesis 1:23-24. When two people become one, a special bond is formed. Yet, this doesn’t mean you should forget the people that you have crossed paths with over the course of your life.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit, Psalm 51:12.
Following king David’s affair with Bathsheba, a spirit of conviction consumed his soul. After hearing the prophet Nathan’s analogy of a little ewe lamb, David became painfully aware of his transgression. Psalm 51 serves as a prayer of confession, asking the Lord to pardon him from sin. In my case, before my home becomes an empty nest in 3 years, I need to reconnect with old friends. While I may not be welcomed back with opened arms, I need to follow the prayer of David above so that I grow old and reunite with old friends.
Talking to yourself may not be natural, but people do think out loud. When you hear voices or whispers, you may be imagining something that is not there. However, when God speaks to certain individuals using a still small voice, this may sound strange but it is true. According to Genesis 2:5-6, God’s initial creation did not include rain as a high water table allowed springs to water the earth. Thus, when God addressed Noah about building an ark, no one had ever seen rain before. Building a giant boat is one thing, but doing so without understanding the concept of a flood required a rock solid faith.
God said to Noah, “I intend to make an end of all that lives, for through men the land is filled with violence; and behold, I am about to destroy them together with the land. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make in it rooms (stalls, pens, coops, nests, cages, compartments) and coat it inside and out with pitch (bitumen), Genesis 6:13-14.
After the scattering of nations at Babel, God sought out a man named Abram. The Lord promised Abram a great nation. However, there was one major problem, Abram’s wife Sarai was barren, nearing the age where having a child is unlikely. Initially, Abram took matters in his own hands, having Ishmael with a maid servant named Hagar. As Sarai’s biological clock was nearing an end, the Lord performed a miracle as Isaac was born. However, Genesis 21 unveils God’s request for Abraham to sacrifice his son. As this drama unfolds, Abraham reaches a point where the only logical explanation for this offering is that God will resurrection his son.
Now [in Haran] the Lord had said to Abram, “Go away from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; 2 and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you [abundantly], and make your name great (exalted, distinguished); and you shall be a blessing [a source of great good to others]; Genesis 12:1-2.
These are just two examples from history that illustrate God’s ability to communicate with human beings. Sometimes God uses a burning bush, a dream or sends an angel to supply his next set of directions. Sometimes these words don’t make sense, but that is where faith comes into play. Testimonies allow present Christians to tell their story of how God is working in their lives. While these stories may appear strange as information is revealed, fellow believers will be encouraged by the wonderful ways in which God moves and works.
I was watching a documentary on meanings to life recently. One of the interviewers suggested two likely possibilities. “Either life occurred due to an accident or some sort of a Creator.” The Big Bang Theory is on one side of this argument as the ideal conditions were present to occur. Meanwhile, the opposing view suggests God spoke and bang life was conceived.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.
Regardless of what you believe, there is another question to consider. What should individuals do with your time each is given on earth? Eat, drink and be merry or consider the eternal consequences and rewards for every action? While the first choice seems obvious, the latter considers a life devoted to serving a higher power.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him, John 3:17.
From some reason, when I was twelve, I began to reflect upon the meaning to life before I fell asleep each night. As I pondered this question for over a month, life doesn’t make sense to me to be born out of thin air, live for a while and then die. Something inside my soul felt like there had to be more, a place after earth. One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this eternal promise in 1 John 5:13. During this period of enlightenment I realized that I am a child of God, created to serve and worship the Lord; trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide me throughout this life.
The term authority refers to a variety of things depending upon the context. Authority can mean jurisdiction, permission to act or delegated responsibility. In biblical terms, authority defines leadership, enabling an individual or group to have the power to make vital decisions. However, with obtaining this status, you can’t give what you don’t have.
In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, Ephesians 2:2.
Following Creation, God gave Adam authority over the Garden of Eden and the animals within. After Eve convinced Adam to sin by disobeying God’s lone rule, the Lord kicked them out, losing the authority they once possessed. This loss was Satan’s gain, obtaining rule over the air. While the names have changed, the Devil continues to encourage the disenchanted to give into temptation, walking in disobedience.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Matthew 28:18.
According to the gospel, Jesus came to earth to seek and save that which was lost. Thus, authority can be regained through Jesus. However, unless you have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, biblical authority is useless. On the other hand, when the words of the Bible become your guide to life, authority can be unleashed through prayer. Therefore, before you take God for granted, make sure you understand what you’re asking for.