Tag Archives: Glory

Free – A Poem

Sin once held me in darkness
separated from Your glory
unaware of Your mercy
But from sin I now am free
You set me free

Sin once made me a failure
alienated from Your story
ignorant of Your grace
But over sin I now have victory
You gave me victory

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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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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Music, Poetry, postaday2011

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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Rulers, Glory, and Taking Sides – My Tuesday Three

My Tuesday Three started out as a means to showcase the blogs of my fellow Christian bloggers, but it has morphed into so much more. Today I decided to take it back to its roots and share with you three of the blog posts I’ve “liked” this past week or so. As I begin to write this I have no idea how they will be connected, but I trust that God has been creating those connections all week.

The first post I want to showcase is by my dear friend Deb over at Deb’s Blog. Every day (except Sunday), Deb writes a short devotion that ends with a “simple poem.” She works her way through a book of the Bible from beginning to end, and is currently in Judges. Her Monday post was titled “Who Shall Rule?” It’s a great question. In the Bible passage Deb was working from, the Israelites wanted Gideon and his sons to rule over them, but Gideon said that God is their ruler. Deb’s wonderful poem is a reminder that it is Jesus who we need to rule our hearts.

The second post I want to showcase was written by Pr. A.C. Baker over at The Recovering Legalist. It is a book review titled “Barriers to Church Growth. # 1.” Pr. Baker promises to blog further about additional barriers to church growth from the book he reviewed, but it seems to me if all one ever thought about was this one, churches would be growing and not shrinking. The point of the post is that churches need to glorify God, and often these days they don’t. Churches seem more concerned with creating programs that will draw people in or singing just the right songs to keep people happy.

The third post I want to showcase is by Amy Barlow Liberatore over at Sharp Little Pencil. I found this post because I was intrigued by one of Amy’s comments at Deb’s Blog. The post is titled “Whose Side Are They on Now?” It is a thought-provoking poem about the tendency of Christians to claim that God is on their side. As I read it, I pondered whether a better question for us to ask is whether we are on God’s side? Although I may not agree with everything I’ve read on Amy’s blog, she is always open to a civilized discussion about things and does, indeed, make one thoughtfully consider the basis for their beliefs.

So, now that the selecting and showcasing is done, what’s the connection? Don’t you see it? It’s plain as day that God is the center. We must allow Him to rule in our hearts. We must glorify Him in our churches and in our lives. We must always, in all that we do, consciously decide to be on His side.

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To Look Upon the Majesty of God

Last Sunday we had a guest preacher, a young man named Chris Nye. You can check out his blog here. He is a youth minister at another church in our area and had preached for our church a few times as we have been going through the process of calling a permanent pastor.

The text Chris was preaching from was Isaiah 6, which begins like this:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

      “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
       the whole earth is full of his glory.”

 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

The message Chris shared was simple: “If we could see God for who He really is we would be sinless.” In this passage of scripture we hear of how Isaiah saw God for who He is and was deeply humbled. John had a similar vision as recorded in Revelation 4 with a similar reaction. Seeing God for who He truly is reveals to the heart of man who he is by comparison, and the result is immediate awe and obedience. Upon seeing God, our response should be as Isaiah’s: “Woe is me!”

The problem is we don’t really understand who God is. We see “the fringes” of His glory and majesty, but fail to grasp the whole picture. Many people never even try, preferring to create a God of their own making, one who is much less majestic and worthy of awe.

Even those of us who desire to see Him, all of Him, fall short of a complete understanding. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV). But still, as we gain more knowledge through the study of His Word and through prayer, seeking Him, we grow closer to that sinless state we would find ourselves in if only we could see fully. Slowly we are transformed, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.

But this is not really what I had thought to write today. There was another message that came to me as I read along with the passage from Isaiah in church on Sunday. This is one of my favorite passages of scripture, but something occurred to me that I had not thought of before.

Isaiah describes the seraphs that attend God’s throne, noting that they covered their faces with two of their six wings. The footnote in my NIV Study Bible says this is because they could not gaze directly at God. I have always accepted this as the most logical reason for why the seraphs cover their faces, but I wonder if there is another reason.

It seems to me that if Isaiah, a mere man, “saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted,” then surely the seraphs who attend the throne could look at the Lord and see Him, too. As I ponder seraphs, I imagine they are some of the most beautiful creatures that God has ever created. Could any lesser creatures attend His throne?

Perhaps the reason the seraphs cover their faces in Isaiah’s vision is so that all focus will be on the Lord Almighty and Isaiah will not be distracted by their beauty. Surely they know that any beauty they have is only because it is a gift of God and that all glory belongs to Him alone. Perhaps it is their humility that leads them to act as they do.

I wonder if we could ever do the same? God has gifted each of us with a beauty all our own, but it is not ours to boast in or show off. It is for God’s glory that He has given us our gifts, talents, and beauty, and yet we take pride in them as if we had anything to do with obtaining them. We forget that we are nothing and have nothing apart from our Creator.

Which I suppose, brings me full circle to Chris’ message. “If we could see God for who He truly is” then we would give all glory to Him alone. We would want all focus to be on Him, just as the seraphs calling, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty” wanted Isaiah to see only God and His majesty.

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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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