Thursday, March 26, 2009

What IS God's glory?

Since i became a Christian, i heard of God's glory but never mulled over what God's glory actually is. So... what is God's glory? What does it look like; what does it sound like; what does it smell like; what does it taste like; what does it feel like?

My Mac dictionary says glory is:
  • high renown or honor won by notable achievements : to fight and die for the glory of one's nation.
  • praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to God.
  • magnificence; great beauty
  • a thing that is beautiful or distinctive; a special cause for pride, respect, or delight
  • the splendor and bliss of heaven : with the saints in glory.
  • a luminous ring or halo, esp. as depicted around the head of Jesus Christ or a saint. ;0)
Sorry Mac, but that doesn't quite cover It.

Scripture has tons to say about glory.

Luke 24:26

26"Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"

2 Corinthians 4:17:
17For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

1 Peter 1:11; 4:13; 5:1:
11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

1Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

1 Samuel 15:29:
29"Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind."

Romans 3:23; 8:17-18:
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, . . .

17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

From this we gather that Glory is a place and/or a person. Or it is something that is gained after suffering. In other places glory seems to be something that can be weighed like jewels or gold. It would seem that glory belongs to God and/or is one of the names of God.

We can assume that glory is an excellent thing; perhaps something we cannot fully understand by reading . . . or something that we simply cannot wrap our minds around at all. Maybe it isn't head knowledge. Maybe It is to be experienced.

Maybe Glory is the smell of morning dew on lilacs. Perhaps Glory is a light rubbing on your back while in great pain. Glory could be in the music of Vivaldi's Gloria. Conceivably It is the taste of a grape after eating only rice and Ramen for months.

Today, Glory was in the tears of an 88 year-old man recalling God's sovereignty 60 years ago - the day of his salvation. Today, Glory was in a schizophrenic boy who spoke coherently of the weight of the Gospel. Today, Glory filled my heart as i experienced It/Him through His creation.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Because He Loves Us.

So Thursday evening... okay, Friday morning, i decided i needed some "girl time" and called Mere to go to the ER with me. Thursday evening i had a bit of a headache and by 2am i was in monumental pain. My roommate called Mere for me but while we waited for her to come, the pain escalated so we called an ambulance. The pain was insane. As i awaited to either pass out or have my head explode, i thought of First Peter 1:8 where Peter describes the joy we have in Him. "[You] believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible." To me, this pain was the equal but opposite feeling; it was like nothing i had ever felt before and at one point i thought i was going to die. I will leave out the crazy details but on the way to the ER, as i was begging God to get me through, i thought of Christ. While my proclivity is to run from pain, Christ, " for the joy that was set before him endured the cross," (Heb 12:2). He voluntarily went to the cross knowing that the pain would be egregiously more pain than anyone can ever experience and He went quietly.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

Now if i had the power to at least separate my consciousness of the pain, i would. Christ could have stopped His punishment at anytime. With one thought, legions of angels could have come to His rescue. Yet Jesus did not. That night i had a bit better idea of what Jesus endured for us.
He would bear the pain as they beat and mocked Him. His eye swollen, lip bleeding and hair ripped from His face.
He would bear the pain as He was flogged. He was whipped with a flagrum that contained lead balls that would tenderize the skin and hooks that tore out chunks of flesh bruising the lungs and heart.
He would bear the pain as they pressed thorns into His head. A crown of thorns that were five to seven inches long, pressed in to His head.
He would bear the pain as He carried His cross. Two wooden beams that weighed upwards of 100 lbs rested on His shoulder as the longer end drug on the ground.
He would bear the pain as He was nailed to the cross. Nails equivalent to railroad spikes driven into the most sensitive nerve centers of the body - the hands and feet.
He would bear the pain as He was lifted up. The people He came to save were mocking, jeering and making fun of Him.
He would bear the pain of speaking one last sermon. He spoke, "Father forgive them." To John He assigns the care of His mother and Jesus forgives and saves the man suffering justly next to Him.
He would bear the pain as the eternal unbroken intimacy of God the Father and God the Son is temporarily severed. This was far worse than any physical suffering that Jesus endured. Jesus took upon Himself my sin, your sin, our sin and experienced physical and spiritual death and it was finished.

He bore all this pain. Why?

Because He loves us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Okay, so this story is saddening and hilarious at the same time.

Dear Prudence, My boyfriend and I are in a healthy and loving relationship, and we are beginning to talk about marriage. We both want the same number of kids at the same point in our lives. It is presumed that these will be our biological children. The issue is, I'm not sure that I would want to bear my boyfriend's children. While he is incredibly intelligent and has a great personality, he is markedly less physically attractive than I am. We get occasional lighthearted comments from friends and family about the discrepancy. Having biological children has never been important to me, and I think adoption is great. I believe that he will be an amazing father and that our children, biological or adopted, would be bright and well-behaved as a result of good parenting. Should I bring these thoughts up with him? I think he would be open to the idea of adoption but would also be hurt by my rationale. At what point should we discuss this more seriously, and how should I tell him how I feel?

Skinny [@*&#!]

Dear Skinny, You're wise to avoid the potential tragedy of reproducing with your boyfriend: Your children could get his looks and your personality. Perhaps your boyfriend's already got an inkling of how you feel because of the Leonardo DiCaprio mask you ask him to wear when you make love. And although Brad and Angelina are both fecund and support adoption, I'm not sure they're going to agree to place any of their future progeny with you just to help you avoid the embarrassment of having a child who looks like your boyfriend. I'm trying to imagine how you initiate this discussion with him. Something like: "I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you. But when it comes to having kids, I'm sure that if we adopt we'll have a better shot of having decent-looking ones than if I let you impregnate me with your hideous sperm." That should go over well! What's supposed to happen when you are in love with someone (who also happens to be intelligent and have a great personality) is that you discover, despite objective measures, that person is beautiful to you. Your boyfriend sounds like a catch, so maybe you should toss him back so that he has a chance to find someone who's not permanently stuck in the shallow end.


A guy friend once told me, "if you are not a good looking guy, you can't go dating a Mercedes. Ya have 'ta stick with a '87 Honda Civic."

I hear girls all the time sizing each other up, "She is much prettier than me. He'll definitely go for her, i don't have a chance."

I often struggle with my appearance; not so much my body but how i move now that i am in pain a lot and times that i use a mobility device. Satin whispers little self pitying lies in my ear such as, "what man would want a crippled wife who moves like a 90 year-old?" LIES, LIES, LIES! These are all LIES.

And regardless, Jesus says,
"6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:6-7

The wisest man that ever lived aside from Jesus said:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

24to preserve you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
Proverbs 6:24-26

16 A gracious woman gets honor,
Proverbs 11:16

Unique Purpose

14"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

Esther 4:14

Esther was given the unique role of being the queen of Babylon when the king had given an order to eliminate the Jewish people. Her cousin, Mordecai, reminds her that she was placed there for purposes that they could not have fathomed until now.

In the same way, we have been placed in positions for such a time as this. Whether employed or unemployed, demoted or promoted, God has placed us where we are for a unique purpose.

Today's commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,
Grace NYC

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Suck at being "Happy"

So it is a pretty well known Christian fact that we are closer to God when we are going through trial. I know this especially well, although i was given a crash field course on Christianity. Now i am in a stable home, close to my family in Christ, have amazing friends, only mildly struggling financially, and although i still have pain, it isn't quite as bad and i expect it... and i now struggle with my relationship with God.

I have learned to be joyful in crazy trial yet because i don't know anything else as a Christian, this new "stable" life mostly absent from insane trial is a conundrum. I guess i am learning the other element of Philippians 4:12. ...and it's weird. My whole Christian experience has been learning to rejoice in the blessing of trial; which is backwards thinking for mankind. Now i am learning to rejoice in the blessings that make me happy/comfortable/not make me want to curl up and die. Honestly, i prefer being unhappy and joyful rather than happy and not so joyful.
Wow, i totally just convicted myself! Both those situations reveal my discontent.
Thank you for talking me through that.

I also wonder... clearly God has made me to be one who has now been conditioned to endure great trial. For some, trial is weeds in the lawn; for some a withering lawn. For others it is someone uprooting the lawn with their 4 wheel drive; and for others it is the atomic bomb dropped in their front yard. So i wonder, is this the calm before the storm? Not that i think God is out to get me, but He has clearly shown Himself in my suffering. And although i fail at it miserably, i've learned to suffer gracefully (showing His grace and strength, not mine). Ha! So now struggling in my faith with the absence of trial it itself a trial! Ha, ha - oh God, You slay me.

I believe Lord,
help my unbelief.
So guess i await the end of this book. Job received so much more than he began with and Peter was pretty much sifted like wheat. Regardless of what happens in the book God is writing about me, i know the end of the story: Christ returns and saves His children. In that i rest.

Trials: 1) [peirasmos] meant to fail, usually from Satan
2) [dokimion] reveals value, test from God
(we don't get to know which type of trial happens when)
3) [hypomenes] steadfast endurance

1 Peter 1:6
6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed (grieved) by various trials, 7so that the proof [dokimion] of your faith,... may be found to result in praise and glory and honor (worship words) at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

James 1:2-3

2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials [peirasmos], 3knowing that the testing [dokimion] of your faith produces endurance [hypomenes].

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pasty and Frail Never Fail

I have been choreographing in my head a lot lately. It has never really stopped and recently it has been overwhelming. Mostly i see myself dancing the way i would if my body would allow. Dancing was my most intimate time with God. Peter tells us, "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory," (1Peter 1:8). That joy is beyond words, above speech and i felt closer to communicating it through movement where there is no locution to trip over. I really miss it. I am not sure what God is going to do with this passion that swells in my heart. If it is not my job to dance here on earth, perhaps that will be my job in Heaven.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Scooting Tward Heaven

I have really been enjoying riding my scooter around West LA. It's funny, i don't even notice the traffic anymore... i see trees of green, red roses too, i see them bloom...
Okay, anyway... it is very peaceful and nice to slow down.

It actually took a while for me to get over being embarrassed riding around in my new geriatric transportation. Every time i sat in the chair, it reminded me how trapped i feel in a broken body, not knowing if i'll ever be healthy again in this life. Then the self pity would kick in, why would God give me such passion without the means to carry it out? Thank Christ i have eternity to look forward to! What a let down it would be if the only thing i had to look forward to is dancing! I have a daily reminder of God's love and grace!

Today, as i was scooting, i saw a bundle of papers rolled up and secured with an orange elastic band just chilling on some one's front lawn (i was on Westholm in Westwood where people have front lawns). I felt the urge to pick it up but ignored that little voice and rationalized that the papers must be some one's homework. They might be back for it. So i continued on my way. On the way back i approached the house and the papers were still on the lawn, just blown down wind a bit. Noticing them again, i continued on but a little voice took hold inside me.

The other day i was at CVS to pick up a few essentials. I knew exactly how much i had in the bank so i decided to splurge on some hair product. A little voice suggested that that wouldn't be a great idea. I ignored it. A day later i looked at my bank account and an $11 check i had totally forgotten about cleared. Because i decided to not listen to that voice, my account was overdrawn.

Flashing back to that instance, i turned my scooter around to retrieve the papers. The roll of papers were perfectly placed within my reach on the raised lawn. Like a child on Christmas morning i slid the orange elastic off and began to read. The first sheet was a poem. Immediately i was irritated and convinced that i had picked up some junior higher's homework. Honestly, in my opinion, the whole thing was pretty lame. But by grace, i read on (i'm sure in light of Christ i'm pretty lame). It was rough, but the last couple lines really spoke to my heart which has been broken over dance.

Broken Heart

Tears forms in the eyes of a lonely man.
They are tears of frustration,
because he just doesn't understand.
Filled with hate, he cries out that he's been treated unfairly,
and now his heart is broken.
He's done well for himself, but he's missing
that one special
He wonders how God could just sit up there and ignore him.
He thinks nothing really good has happened to him,
so he spends his life chasing those things men can't get enough of.
He has lost touch with himself and God,
and now he's mad because there is no good life,
no really good times, and no one above.
Aching inside, he feels he's been overlooked
or just down right ignored.
With raised fist, he looks to the heavens and starts to swear.
But with a deeper thought and a pause, he realizes that,
if his heart is broken from rejection and denial,
so must God's.

I am crying for a nickel, while He is trying to give me a twenty.