Tag Archives: christmas

Behold

UniverseWhat is the glory of God?

The truth is, we don’t know. Sinful humans cannot look upon His glory and live. However, the Bible declares in Psalm 19, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

The “heavens” are what astronomers call the “observable universe.” It refers to the “limit created by the speed of light. Any object further away than light can travel in the age of the universe (about 14 billion years) has not even reached us yet.”

This “observable universe,” we are told, is now about 46.5 billion light years in radius, or 93 billion light years in diameter. One light year, the distance light travels in a year, equals about 6 trillion miles. Early in 2017, an English team of astronomers estimated that within this observable universe are at least 2 trillion galaxies, each with billions of stars—10 times more than previously thought. The human mind cannot fathom such numbers.

All of these stars and galaxies, however incomprehensible their numbers and sizes, still represent only 4% of the total mass of the universe. The remaining 96% comprises other matter that the astronomers haven’t even been able to identify yet!

All of this represents only the “observable universe!” Most parts of the universe are simply too far away for any of us to observe with any telescope no matter how advanced because we live in a universe that is expanding faster than the speed of light.

None of us can fully comprehend the universe, but the Bible tells us that the very size and complexity of the universe declares His glory. The God who created it all holds this universe in His hands.

In His hands. Think of it—the vast universe in which we live only hints at the glory of God. In the heavens, God has left us a big hint of His glory, so obvious that none of us can miss it.

As Christians, our growing knowledge of the universe’s expanse should declare to us that God is even greater than our godly forefathers knew. His love and grace are more boundless than we thought, His incarnation more miraculous, His humbling of Himself in Jesus Christ is more stunning. His sacrifice is more sacrificial, His character more outstanding, His trustworthiness more pure, His Word holds greater value.

In your spirit, enter the Bethlehem stable with its pungent smells of hay, straw and animal dung. Listen to the bleat of sheep and goats, the lowing of cattle. Note the young woman who lovingly watches over a red-faced infant, fresh from her womb, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Look again at the newborn baby lying in the straw. This male-child is the creator of all the stars, planets, galaxies, dark energy and expanding universe. He is the Lamb of God, soon to bear your sin and my sin, the sins of every person who ever lived or will live. He is about to enter us into a new humanity that will one day astound the angels of heaven.

Behold the love of God that will not let us go. Then fall down and worship Him.

Behold the glory of God. He is the one Person whose relations with us makes every difference. Let us make sure that others know Him.

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Glory & Grace

Glory-and-Grace-2014-12Even when we do not think of God, we all depend upon Him every moment of every day. The more we become aware of Him, the more we experience freedom. When Isaiah met God in the temple, it changed the rest of his life. On that day, he heard the angels cry out,

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3)!

The whole earth is full of His glory! Yet tragically, most of the time, we don’t see it.

Go down the streets anywhere and observe the people. How many of them walk about
with stooped shoulders, dead eyes, and grim faces.

Yet right before their eyes, may lie a glorious sunrise or a lovely child. Overhead, graceful flocks of birds may head for unknown destinations, guided by instincts still little understood.

Every moment, we are surrounded by thousands of signs of a glorious God. But more often than not, we miss them because we are consumed by our own worries, doubts and frantic schedules! All too often, WE may be those grim-faced people on the streets!

Paul says, “Since creation, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen…” In other words, HIS GLORY. But…

“Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks.”

Yes, more often than we like to think, this appalling verdict claims us, as God’s children of grace—even now. We all have myopic vision and futile thoughts. Too often, talk of God’s glory seems to contradict our daily experience of mediocrity, sorrow and failure. But…

The Gospel of John tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw HIS GLORY, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14).

His great glory is His grace. That grace and glory of God came to live among us through a young teenage girl giving birth to a Child in a manger. It ended on a cross. In Romans, Paul tells us that we, too, were crucified with Him. Three days later, we were also raised with Him, so that our life of mediocrity, sorrow and failure might become absorbed and transformed by His resurrection GLORY. He lives for all eternity, now and forever. So do we who trust in Him.

In short, through His birth in a manger, death on a cross and resurrection from a tomb, He has already given us the gift of His glory to experience now and forever. As Paul tells us, even in spite of ourselves, we can “reckon ourselves dead to [the kingdom of] sin and alive to [the kingdom of] God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Yes, God’s glory is also His grace.

So the battle is already over, and the victory is already won. The prison doors have flown open. The shades are up, and the glorious light of God already shines upon us. Already, God tells us, “Get up! You are free! Walk out into all that I planned for you before I created the universe! It is yours now!” This grace is true glory and freedom!

The rest of the world still sees only prison cells around them, and they walk about with grim faces, awaiting their freedom. Let us better see the gracious glory of God for ourselves, that we may help them to see it–and to experience true freedom!

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