The Lord reigns; He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; He has put on strength as His belt.

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.

Psalm 93: 1-3

 

Life gets crazy; there is too much to get done and no time; too many obligations and no resources. The things that we think that we need the most at any given moment break or hide themselves from us. The frustrations of daily living can often be more than we can bear. So, we ask ourselves these questions, “Why can’t things just work like they are supposed to; why can’t people simply be reliable?” “Where is God in all of this chaos and brokenness?”

 

I think that perhaps God’s answer to these questions, His response to these frustrations is that we are not looking high enough; that we need to lift our eyes from the floor and look out at His creation. This world is flawed, these things that I have surrounded myself with are fallible, and we people are unreliable at best. So, perhaps the answer to these daily frustrations is found in the orientation of the eyes of my heart; for, instead of focusing on what is broken and flawed, I can be looking at the face of God. Rather than whining and complaining about how hard life is, my voice can be lifted up to express praise to my Creator. For the Lord is the same, has never changed, and will never fail me. He is King over all of his Creation, and He is the mighty King.

 

God’s kingdom has nothing to do with cars or houses or with our wealth. His kingdom is built in our hearts; we share in His majesty and we live continually in the presence of the King of Glory. As we open our eyes to see Him and allow His Spirit to orient our hearts to the Lord’s perspective, the great wealth that surrounds us becomes real and tangible, and everything else in life becomes functional. In God’s economy, living with peace and joy becomes possible, and the way we enter into relationship with everyone becomes important. Its all a matter of where the eyes are focused.

 

 

Advertisements

Who is the King of glory?

The LORD, strong and mighty,

the LORD, mighty in battle!

Psalm 24: 8

 

There is a battle going on around us. We know that this is a literal truth in our times, for there are stories and reports of armed conflict coming out of almost every corner of our earth. We are also aware of the violent nature of our times in that terrible things are happening in places and to people who would otherwise seem to be living and carrying out life in very safe conditions. As a follower of Christ, I certainly do see that we are also engaged in a daily struggle with evil and with the forces of our world for the souls of people. The reality of the conflict that fills our air and that saturates our airwaves is too present to deny, and it does demand that we pay attention to it and that we engage in its conduct or risk falling prey to its destructive forces.

 

Yet, I think that there is a real risk here in paying the wrong sort of attention to this conflict; so, there is also a high prospect of adopting inappropriate and ineffective tactics as we seek to engage in this fight. It is human nature to either run from the sounds of battle or to run toward them. In the first situation, we are attempting to save ourselves and to protect others from harm by leading them away from danger. In that opposite response, we are seeking to gain an advantage on the adversary by striking before they have time to fully prepare to meet us. When it comes to the underlying battle of the soul and to its spiritual field of contest, both of these approaches tend to leave prayer out as they maximize our human involvement in a battle that belongs first and foremost to the Lord.

 

Even when the news of the day tells us in graphic detail about the chaos and the destruction that are all around us in the world and certainly at those times when these harsh realities have settled upon our own lives, the Lord is still King, and He remains the answer to all that we are facing. That is why reflecting upon these few simple words and recognizing their message as my own can be a very helpful thing to do on a regular basis. Who is the King of Glory? He is Jesus Christ who is strong and mighty to save and to redeem all who are lost. He is the answer to every question that we might ask, and Christ fills every need that we will have during our journey through life. So, as the battle, both far and near, fills our ears with its roar, we do have a warrior going before us and leading us into His victory over all that is evil and over the sin and the death that they bring with them. Who is this King of Glory, He is Christ, and He rules my heart and saves my soul!

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.

The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;

you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.

Psalm 45: 6, 7a

 

God is on His throne, and His term of office is a very long one. The Lord has reigned as the supreme ruler over creation from a time before any of what we experience and any of our ancestors even existed. Then, according to the promise of God’s word His rule over all will continue without cessation forever and beyond. When I consider granting my loyalty and allegiance to a ruler or a national leader, it would seem that God’s permanence carries some very real weight in determining my decision. Yet there is much more to consider than just length of service when determining to follow God as my primary ruler.

 

Character is the most significant aspect to consider in determining who should be trusted to lead. This quality that is called character is much more than the words that the person speaks as it is demonstrated more than it is proclaimed. It is also something that is lived out over time and in all of the circumstances of life. The character of a leader is found in that person’s ability to remain fair, just, caring, concerned, engaged, and strong without regard to personal gain, loss, or pain. Throughout history there have been no human leaders who perfectly accomplish all of this. Every one of them has failed in various ways, and all of them to come will also fall short.

 

God remains as the singular example of the King whose rule is perfect. Justice and mercy define his kingdom; so, the symbol of office that the Lord holds is much more than the ceremonial scepter of a human ruler. Instead, God holds the qualities of life that are most precious to Him in His hand as He pours them out on the people of this broken world. God is the only leader who is worthy of absolute loyalty, and His standard of righteousness is the only law that accurately and fully defines the way that people should live. So, let me give praise to God, my Righteous King of Glory. May Your truth reign supreme in my life for the rest of my days.

We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

1 Timothy 4: 10

 

Most of us need something to hold onto. We want to believe that there is a future that will be better than the past and that will exceed the present in quality, too. This thing that we call hope becomes an anchor point for us that helps hold us upright when things get crazy in our world, and it gives us the will to face the new day when, otherwise, dawn promises little beyond frustration and futility. Yet, many of the things that we can attach our hope to prove to be weak, temporary, or futile, themselves. Christ is the only point of attachment that is anchored at the center of all Creation. Thus, when we seek to find our hope in Him and hold onto the things of God as its source, we are looking to hope’s true author and its only real Creator.

 

God has made this same potential for living in a hope filled reality available and possible for all people. He brings the brightness of His glory into the lives of everyone who will turn to Him. The Lord does all of this with a willingness that indicates His great desire to have people live in the fullest expression of peace and love. However, in order to truly know the hope that God brings into this harsh world, we need to accept His gift of grace that leads to salvation through a relationship with Jesus. For some people this means turning their lives around and submitting them to the great, sovereign King of Glory. For those of us who know Christ, it means accepting and submitting to the fact that we still must surrender control and allow that our hope is in His hands.

 

When we have come to know and to be blessed by this eternal hope that is found in a relationship with Christ, it becomes our responsibility to spread the word about the peace, joy, and freedom that we have found in and through Jesus with people who are still seeking their hope in the things that they can do, the work that they perform, and in the status that they can achieve. We live in a darkly hopeless world. People who may seem to have all of life under control surround us, but they are desperate for real peace and joy on the inside. Hope in Christ is a gift from God to be accepted, pursued, embraced, enjoyed, and shared with others.

 

 

Who then is the faithful servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

Matthew 24: 45, 46

 

Serving may seem like one of life’s easiest tasks. But just talk with people who really do it for any lengthy period of time, and they usually give a different perspective on it all. It seems that serving can be very taxing. At times it is tedious and repetitive, and on other days the requirements of the service become physically and emotionally draining. This is not a role that is suitable for the inattentive or for people who have no eye for detail. Although servants are generally at the bottom of the pay scale, they may encounter responsibilities and decisions that have life or death importance and impact.

 

In other words, this is not an occupation for he faint hearted and the weak spirited. It is not such a good career choice for me and it is not one for most people, either. Yet, God’s Word tells us that we should follow Jesus. We are instructed and guided to model our lives after the example that He set for us, and Jesus was truly a servant. Based upon that sort of advice giving, I might infer that God is a very poor guidance counselor. If He is telling me to enter into a life’s work of service, then He must be reading the test results incorrectly or He might have been thinking of the wrong person at that moment. Yet, the God that I know, the King of Glory, is fully in touch with this world, and He knows me to a depth and in a manner that exceeds all of my comprehension.

 

In these times that came after humanity’s rebellion against God and His original design for Creation, God set forth an order, a plan, and a system of governance in this world that grants to people a very important role. We are to live in intimate relationship with God and He is committed to granting to us all that we need to live righteously and lovingly in and on this hostile terrain. Christ has shown us the way, and He has given us His Spirit to continuously guide and strengthen our journey. Now God employs and commissions each of His people to care for the pasture that is this world. He directs us to feed the sheep of that pasture on the pure grass of His truth and love. Every one of us is also directed to seek out and to pursue the too numerous lost ones of our world with a passion and a focus that is like Christ’s. Thus as we make this service our life’s work, our Lord tells us that He will be greatly pleased and blessing will pour out upon our hearts.

 

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.

Romans 1: 8

 

The proud parent speaks. Paul was a very real father to the newly born followers of Christ in Rome and in other parts of his world. So, when these people had become known for their faithful adherence to Christ’s calling upon them to live righteous and loving lives, Paul felt a personal sense of pride in it all. For me this fact sets out a combination of permission, mandate, and challenge.

 

First, there is the permission. It is good to have a feeling of pride in the way that we have had an influence for Christ on the people in our world. I think that God wants us to follow Him in coaching and mentoring others in their faith and in expressing the sort of satisfied delight that a parent holds for a child’s accomplishments. Turning away from the powerful pull of the world to follow Christ is not easy for most of us, and doing this is worthy of recognition and praise. The fact that God desires for His followers to enter into and to invest in the lives of others also establishes the mandate from our Lord that we do this. Christ absolutely cares for the souls of everyone, and He wants us to follow His lead in this with total commitment.

 

So, this leads to the challenge. It is two-fold, and they are inter-related. Living openly, overtly even, as a follower of Christ in our world is not easy, convenient, or well accepted. The idea that our faith; yours, mine, and that of our church; would be the subject of any sort of public commentary, much less that it would be the cause for world-wide proclamation, is overwhelming to consider. Yet, that is what happened with these early Christians who were living in a culture that was far more antagonistic to their faith than ours is on its worst day. Thus, living boldly for Christ all of the time and in every situation is the first half of the challenge. However, Christ wants us to do more than live righteously; for, He calls upon us to lead others into the sort of relationship with God that will cause them to lay down their lives in service to the King of Glory.