There’s Freedom In Glorifying God article, Day 4

God is glorified by our responses to trials.

In this sinful world, we will face many life struggles. Trials tests what we believe about God and the Shepherd’s ability to protect, provide, and lead His sheep.  When we trust in God, tests of faith build our perseverance, faith, and character. They reveal to the world the glory of God. When we overcome against great odds, it spreads a message to this dying world, that “all things are possible with God.” They can hopefully see in our actions that “God can be trusted” and “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need”.  (In his mind and heart, someone needing God might think “There must be a God out there. If He can meet that individual’s needs, then maybe his God could satisfy my needs too!”, which begins the process of him experiencing God in his heart.) Our job is not to live lives of ease and comfort, but to overcome, and be a light that reveals the glory of God.

“All things are possible with God” is true because God is a perfect, omnipotent God who can do all things. Also true is that the Lord Shepherd is always there to protect and provide for His sheep, because of His intense unconditional love. The Shepherd sacrificed His life on the cross for the sake of every sinner, so He surely would be willing to lay down His life for His children. If the Shepherd was willing to die for our eternal freedoms, then He would also strongly desire to take of us when we face life struggles. Not only does the Love of the Father overflowing, so is also perfect His ability to protect, provide, and lead. God is perfect in all ways, remember.

The more you study of the Word, the more you know and trust the Shepherd. The more you know of God’s promises and have successful experiences of resting upon them during trials, the greater your faith becomes. One of God’s promises is Psalm 121:7-8, “The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Psalm 23:1-7 says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Focusing upon the protection and provision of the Lord Shepherd can provide great comfort in times of duress.

Our Shepherd: Lord of every storm we face in life

Again, there is nothing the Trinity cannot do. In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus protected His disciples from a fierce storm by simply commanding the storm to “Quiet down!”:

“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”(Mark 4:35-41).

The disciples saw Jesus asleep and presumably thought the Shepherd was going to delay too long in protecting them. We are in the midst of the storm and haven’t experienced yet God’s deliverance and might also believe He will fail us. We may say to ourselves: “Lord, I’m going to drown! Where are you? Are you asleep?” However, Jesus tested the faith of the disciples and came at the perfect moment; He will also always do the same for us too. He simply commands the storm, either the external storm or the one inside us, to cease, and it is gone. So why doesn’t the Shepherd save us sooner, but instead seem to be asleep to us, like He initially was with the disciples in Mark 4:35-41?

Jesus could have saved the disciples but He waited because He had a perfect reason. By waiting for the storm to get really bad, it first tested the faith of the disciples, and it secondly allowed the disciples to witness a miracle of Jesus – the storm ceased after Jesus commanded it to do so. The disciples grew in its faith as they learned the miraculous power of the Almighty God Jesus in action. They witnessed a miracle: a storm stopped after a man told it to stop. They then realized the glory of God; how great and powerful He is. If Christ spared them of that trial, the disciples’ faith would not have expanded, because they would not have seen the glory of God in action. But because Jesus waited, since that event, people like me and you who read that passage of Mark 4:35-41, have been given the opportunity to hear of the Shepherd in action, taking care of His sheep. Think of the countless lives the “peace be still story” has transformed, as spiritual fruit has been produced from the writings of Mark 4:35-41, all because Jesus chose to wait until the perfect moment. God wants His glory to be revealed to the world, so He waits for the perfect moment, either to strengthen your faith, so you can face bigger giants in the future, and or because, He wants people to witness a miracle done by Him.

In your life, you will face storms of life. In some of them, you may be crying out: “Teacher, don’t you care if I drown?” And in the midst of anxiety and fear, the Shepherd will wait in His perfect timing, to deliver you through the trial. But He may arrive later than when our anxiety desires, so we can learn to trust Him and the rest of the world can be able to witness the glory of God at work in your life. But like He did for the disciples, and to every other sheep, the Shepherd will never fail to be on time, or fail to be effective in providing you perfect provision and protection from life struggles.

Rejoicing in the midst of trials

The apostle Paul tells us: “Rejoice always, pray continually, in all things give thanks” (1 Thess 5:16-18).

Paul believed this in spite of great struggles: “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28).

Paul was a great saint and witness for God. His rejoicing and giving of thanks, especially during trials, revealed great character in Him, but more importantly, became a living example and model of how to live for God. His life certainly bore witness to the world of the glory of God.

In the future, dear Christian, you may have opportunities, in your troubles, to be a model that bears witness to Christ to this dying, lost world. Your life purpose can be used by God to reflect God’s glory to others. Will your life glorify God when people around you hear your beliefs, watch your decisions, and observe your responses to trials?

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love”  (1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV).

Glorifying God happens when people see faith, hope, and love in our lives. We cannot let fear and selfish desires prevent us from fully reaching our life purpose, one that reveals God’s glory and light to those blinded by darkness. Love God and people and do what is right. Have sufficient hope and faith to overcome the stormy waves of life. Rely upon the Shepherd whose purpose is to provide, protect, and lead. And enjoy God in the process as we obey and surrender to Him. “To God, be the glory.”

God’s Evaluation Of Man In The Afterlife

 

Every human will be judged in the afterlife for every decision made during his or her lifetime. The unbeliever will be judged for every sin committed and experience eternal punishment in hell. The believer will also be judged to see what heavenly rewards he or she will inherit. Here are some verses about God’s evaluating man on judgement day.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2).

 “Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”  (2 Corinthians 5:10)

“For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:27)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.  (Matthew 6:19-21)

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:21)

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it”. (1 Cor 9:24)

God is glorified when His creation desires to praise Him

God is glorified when His creation desires to praise Him. As you have probably learned, God completely deserves to be praised and thanked. In this article, when I refer to praise, you can perhaps attribute to also giving thanks.

None of us praises God as we should. God is such a perfect God and we don’t praise Him enough. But He still loves us the same when we don’t, in comparison when we do. He is remarkably full of love, grace, goodness, and mercy.

God deserves our praise. His Son paid the penalty for our sins, and we escape hell, therefore. He chose to adopt us as His children. We sin repeatedly and He continues to declare us nonguilty. He chose to give us an inheritance in heaven. He gives us daily the opportunity to serve God in order to earn heavenly rewards. He listens and answers our prayers in wisdom and in love. He is faithfulness in provision, protection, and guidance. Only He can do the impossible. Only He can completely satisfy our longings. We always have everything we need. He strengthens our courage when we afraid. When we leave Him, He patiently waits for our return. Only He pre-existed, only He can create the heavens and earths with such precision and perfection. He is always sovereign and in control, even when chaos and instability is at its worse. No one can completely comprehend the thoughts and intentions of God. When we abide, He gives us overabundant joy and happiness. Every time we fall and fail, He lovingly and patiently picks us up back on our feet and says “try again.” His law is perfect, providing justice and guiding us toward further holiness. He is perfectly holy, truth, mercy, grace, sovereignty, immutability, always keeps His promises, faithful, goodness, patience, joy, peace, longsuffering, self-control, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, wise, caring, loving, to name a few. I can go forever in listing reasons to praise God, and I still would come nowhere even remotely close of listing one percent of all His good attributes.

Not only should we praise God because He infinitely deserves it, but by us doing so, it gives us enjoyment. C.S. Lewis once wrote: “But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or any thing — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least . . .

I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. (Reflections on the Psalms)

Since God is the greatest object to admire, more elegant and beautiful than all of creation, then to admire and praise Abba Father would be “’simply to be awake’, to have entered the real world, while not doing so would be to become far more profoundly crippled than those who are blind, deaf, and bedridden”. ”When we find something admirable or fascinating, we have the instinctive desire to tell someone about it”.  Praising something we enjoy “completes the enjoyment”. If we delight in God, then we should praise Him, not just to reaffirm His glory, but so we can fully enjoy Him in the process.

We will never praise God as we should. Part of the reason is we will never comprehend how great He is. Another reason is that we are flawed creatures because of our sinful natures, and because of that, we don’t love God supremely. Because of our cravings to satisfy the flesh, we will never love God as much as we should until we go to heaven. We still have idols to cling to, we have selfish desires, we still have some pride in us. However, God still loves us the same as if we loved Him completely with all our hearts, minds, and souls. He still and always will treat us like the father did in the prodigal son story. That is because He is perfectly holy, love, longsuffering, grace, faithfulness, and mercy. That is why He is God, flawless, indescribable, and incomparable. He definitely deserves our praise, so let’s try to do the best we can to praise Him, again not just to be reverent by appreciating His glory, but also do it for our own enjoyment.

“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”  (Psalm 34:3)

Sources:

https://www.seedbed.com/mean-glorify-god-free-l
https://www.compellingtruth.org/glorify-God.html
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/biblical-texts-to-show-gods-zeal-for-his-own-glory
https://www.gotquestions.org/glorify-God-in-every
https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/everything-you-do-in-life-should-be-for-the-glory-of-god.html
https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/

God’s Will: Finding Guidance For Everyday Decisions, J.I Packer.

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God, Timothy Keller.

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