Tag Archives: Glory of God

Blue Skies – An Elfje

Cerulean
skies expanse
sunny and bright
I grasp God’s glory.
Magnificent!

Once again I’ve been drawn in by a new poetry form and the ideas have come in threes. So here’s my third elfje.

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Joseph: The Forgotten Character

When we think of the Christmas story, it seems we tend to forget the role that Joseph played in this historical event. We rightly focus on the baby Jesus, or often on His mother Mary. To be sure, Joseph is there in every nativity scene, but do we really comprehend the importance he plays in this story and what we can learn from him?

Mary knew beyond any doubt that she was a virgin and when she found herself pregnant she had no trouble believing that what the angel had told her was true. But Joseph had no such assurance. He had been told in a dream by an angel that Mary’s baby was the Son of God, but surely he had doubts. For Joseph to believe, he had to have faith and to trust God’s messenger as well as his new bride.

This afternoon I’ve been listening to Christmas music and wrapping presents to the smell of a rib roast in the slow cooker for Christmas Eve dinner. The song Joseph’s Lullaby by MercyMe came on and I found myself pondering the thought of Joseph accepting Jesus as the Son of God while at the same time treating the Holy Child as his own son.

Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, “In love he [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:5-6 (NIV). In the same way, Joseph adopted the baby Jesus as his son, even though he knew the child was not his. In faith, Joseph raised this miracle Child as his own, teaching Him the craft of a carpenter and the love of God. In all that Joseph did as the earthly father of Jesus, he glorified God the Father.

So this Christmas, let’s remember Joseph, the forgotten character of the story at the center of all history.

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I Will Praise You – A Psalm

I was reading Psalm 111 this morning which says, “I will praise You with my whole heart.” I was inspired to write this psalm of praise.

I Will Praise You

I will praise You with my broken heart
In Your goodness and mercy You heal me
I will praise You in the raging storm
Your mighty right hand will calm the winds

I will praise You when the flowers bloom
Their beauty a witness of Your glory
I will praise You while the sun shines bright
Pointing to You as my eternal Light

The works of Your creation testify
You alone are worthy of praise

Created in Your image we have the power
to create, but only from what You
have already made

Guide us, O Lord, to use our creative power
for good and not for evil
that the whole earth would glorify You in praise

I will praise You
Praise the Lord

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Poetry Is Wonderful

Last Saturday my son wanted to go to Game Trader, a store that is about 12 miles from our house. He often wants to go to Game Trader on Saturdays because he is, in his own words, a retro-gaming geek. Anyway, I agreed to take him and his best friend, and his friend’s mom (who is my friend) came along too.

The good thing about Game Trader is that it is in a strip mall that has both a Starbucks and a Powell’s Books. If you’re not from Portland, Oregon you might not be familiar with Powell’s, but for locals it is our very own homegrown new and used bookstore. The main location in downtown Portland is called Powell’s City of Books, and you need a map to find your way around it. The store next to Game Trader isn’t quite as big, but still fun to go in, especially because of all the old books and sale tables. When we go I always say, “I’m not going to get a book this time.” But I almost always do.

Last Saturday I purchased a wonderful find – a used book called “Invisible Light: Poems about God” – for only $4.50. And it is in excellent condition. It is a collection of poems by various poets, some well known and some not so well known, as well as a few Psalms and other pieces of poetic scripture. I noticed in the table of contents that there were two poems by William Cowper, who I first heard of when reading “When the Darkness Will Not Lift” by John Piper. (See my book review of that book here).

Both of Cowper’s poems were so beautiful; made me wonder why I even try to write poetry. (But I do know my poetry is getting better, and reading poems like Cowper’s just makes me want to learn more about poetry and get better at writing it).

I decided that for my Thankful Thursday post, instead of writing my own poem, I want to share one of Cowper’s. This particular poem/hymn was inspired by Isaiah 40:15-20. I am thankful for the poetry Cowper wrote, and for the witness that he provides of the truth that God uses the broken for wonderful things. You see, Cowper suffered from recurrent bouts of depression and severe mental illness. Nonetheless, he was able to write some truly inspiring poetry and hymns to glorify God.

The Future Peace and Glory of the Church
by William Cowper

Hear what the Lord hath spoken:-
O my people, faint and few;
Comfortless, afflicted, broken,
Fair abodes I build for you:
Thorns of heart-felt tribulation
Shall no more perplex your ways;
You shall name your walls, Salvation,
And your gates shall all be Praise.
There, like streams that feed the garden,
Pleasures, without end, shall flow;
For the LORD, your faith rewarding,
All his bounty shall bestow:
Still in undisturb’d possession,
Peace and righteousness shall reign;
Never shall you feel oppression,
Hear the voice of war again.
You no more your suns descending,
Waning moons no more shall see;
But, your griefs for ever ending,
Find eternal noon in me:
God shall rise, and shining o’er ye,
Change to day the gloom of night;
He, the LORD, shall be your glory,
God, your everlasting light.

Hymn No. 10 of The Olney Hymns

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
      And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
      Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
       16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
      Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
       17 All nations before Him are as nothing,
      And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.
       18 To whom then will you liken God?
      Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
       19 The workman molds an image,
      The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
      And the silversmith casts silver chains.
       20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
      Chooses a tree that will not rot;
      He seeks for himself a skillful workman
      To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
Isaiah 40:15-20 (NKJV).

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Psalm 115 – To God Belongs the Glory

For today’s Psalm I asked my husband to randomly pick a number between 29 and 150 (since I’ve already posted the first 28 Psalms). He picked 115. I searched my blog to see if I had posted it before and was surprised that I had not. It is one of my favorite Psalms. I love the first stanza because it is a reminder that all glory belongs to God, our Creator and Redeemer. This is consistent with the core of the Christian faith – that Christ died to save sinners because we cannot save ourselves. It is Jesus who gets all the glory for the gift of salvation that He has provided. It is God who was loving, faithful, and merciful at the cross to make a way for His people to be with Him for eternity. Nothing that man has ever done deserves the glory that belongs to God alone.

Psalm 115

 1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us
   but to your name be the glory,
   because of your love and faithfulness.

 2 Why do the nations say,
   “Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven;
   he does whatever pleases him.
4 But their idols are silver and gold,
   made by the hands of men.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
   eyes, but they cannot see;
6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
   noses, but they cannot smell;
7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
   feet, but they cannot walk;
   nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
   and so will all who trust in them.

 9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD—
   he is their help and shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD—
   he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD—
   he is their help and shield.

 12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
   He will bless the house of Israel,
   he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the LORD—
   small and great alike.

 14 May the LORD make you increase,
   both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.

 16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
   but the earth he has given to man.
17 It is not the dead who praise the LORD,
   those who go down to silence;
18 it is we who extol the LORD,
   both now and forevermore.

   Praise the LORD.

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Show Me Your Glory – A Poem

The Israelites saw the glory of God in the pillar of fire and the pillar of smoke that led them through the desert. Still, Moses asked God, “Show me Your glory.” Exodus 33:18. I am thankful that, without even asking, God shows us His glory every day. So for Thankful Thursday I decided to write a poem about the Glory of my Lord and Savior.

Show Me Your Glory

Show me Your glory?
I don’t have to ask
You already have
In so many ways

The roses bloom
Revealing Your beauty

The birds sing
Revealing Your joy

The sun rises each morning
Revealing Your faithfulness

The wind blows
Revealing Your power

The ocean tide ebbs and flows
Revealing Your steadiness

The Bible is translated in many languages
Revealing Your truth

Your Holy Spirit indwells Your believers
Revealing Your wisdom

Your Son died on the cross
Revealing Your love

The women found the empty tomb
Revealing Your glory

In so many ways
You have shown me
All I must do is open my eyes
You show me Your glory

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The Gardener Prunes

Last week I wrote about a woman of God, Ruth Handy, who had told me to read John 15. In that post, I focused on the one verse that she directed me to. But as I read all of John 15 that night, another verse spoke to my heart. The chapter starts out with Jesus speaking to His disciples:

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4.

Working with my rose garden, I know how pruning works. During the flowering season, old spent flowers are cut away. And early in the spring before new growth begins, most of the plant is cut away so that only a foot or so of the main branches remain. If roses are carefully pruned and maintained, they bear beautiful roses all summer long. But if they are not cared for in this way, their beauty is diminished.

My roses don’t have feelings or nerves, so this pruning is not painful for them. But for us humans, pruning is never fun and can even be painful as it involves have a part of ourselves cut away so that something better and more fruitful can grow.

I have read John 15 many times before because John is my favorite book of the Bible. So as I began to read this chapter I was only a few words in when I knew the subject of pruning was coming quickly. It has been a difficult and challenging year, and I must admit I don’t really feel up to more pruning. But then my eyes fell upon this phrase: “You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.” Wow! What a blessing that one sentence was to me. I felt in my spirit Jesus telling me it’s not my season of pruning because I’ve “already been pruned.”

Now I know that another season of pruning will come. It’s an annual thing for my roses, and I know I will probably see several more pruning seasons in my life. I know He’s not done with me yet. But for now, I need only to remain in Him.

Are you in a season of pruning? Never forget that it is for your benefit and for the glory of God. And it will not last forever. There will be a time when He says “you have already been pruned.” Better to be pruned than to be the branch that is cut off and thrown into the fire. Better to be a branch that is pruned and bears much fruit. Seasons of pruning are temporary and the glory you bring to Jesus is forever.

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