What does it mean to glorify God?

What does it mean to glorify God?

To glorify God means to recognize and talk about his magnificent and unfathomable attributes as creator of the universe and all life forms on planet Earth. Those attributes include his majesty, holiness, grace, love, omnipotence, omniscience to name just a few. Glorifying God also includes loving God, keeping his covenants and obeying his commands. This said, we will take a look at specific references to bringing glory to God from the Scriptures.

We need to first look at God’s glory as defined in Isaiah 6:3. It says, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Psalm 19:1 says: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” And in Romans 1:20 we read: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

God created the world in all its splendor and beauty for His glory so He could communicate His glory to us and draw us to Him. Isaiah 43:6 says, “Bring my daughters and my sons from afar, everyone whom I have created for my glory.”

As you can see, God’s desire is to draw all men to himself. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are told to shine their light before men reflecting his glory so men may look to him and discover the salvation he offers only in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”

The Westminster Catechism written in the 1600’s to clarify the Christian faith asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “A Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” It is very clear from the Bible that we are to be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions and be about glorifying God and not glorifying self!

In what ways is the Bible God’s operating manual for life?

In what ways is the Bible God’s operating manual for life?

The Bible is the best selling book of all times. It has guided and transformed hundreds of millions of lives down through the ages and continues to do the same today. It has provided mankind with truths for living, for developing personal core values, for defining one’s worldview, for establishing a moral compass, and for discovering God’s love and plan for redemption from sin and eternal life. But, there is much more to be gained from the Bible.

One of the amazing things about the Bible is that it actually does provide the information on how to live our lives. The basics for living a godly and satisfying life can be found in what are known as the Beatitudes which are Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew chapter 5. Throughout the New Testament there are many examples for dealing with man’s more common problems. However, the Bible should not be taken as a stand-alone troubleshooting guide. Equally important is to know and trust God and depend upon him. God stands ready to help throughout life and to give both guidance and wisdom if he is asked.

The apostle John, one of Jesus’ disciples, explained further the way to life with God: “Yet to all who received him (Jesus) to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12-13) God’s children have direct access to God the Father on all issues of life. God’s operating manual offers help through all of life’s trials. As God’s children, they are welcome anytime to come before God knowing with confidence that he will listen and respond. It’s called prayer. Everyone who lives according to God’s inspired words and accepts Jesus as Savior will be blessed in this life and in the life to come.

Finally, if you have a Bible, you need to check out these books of wisdom: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs in the Old Testament. They along with the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Beatitudes referenced above (Matthew 5:2-11) will give you God’s basic operating manual for life. Reading, studying and internalizing the truth and wisdom contained in just these four of the 66 books of the Bible will provide guidance and a moral compass for living a meaningful and productive life that brings honor and glory to God.

Trying to live a Godly life without God to direct you will prove to be a futile task. If you have not placed your trust in God and would like to know how you can be assured of both eternal life and a fuller understanding of life on this earth, check out our Next Steps page.

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Few events in antiquity are as well documented as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity.

Consider this: there were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried. The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were expert at the art of death. Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected. But unlike others who were raised from the dead only to die again at a future date, Jesus was very much alive when he departed this earth in front of witnesses. He was and is alive today, but not in the human form in which he lived 2,000 years ago.

Today, Jesus reigns with His father, God, in heaven and is preparing a place for every believer to join Him there. But one doesn’t have to wait for the end of life on earth to encounter Jesus, because when he departed he promised to send his Spirit to serve as advocate, counselor, and comforter to those who believe in the resurrected Jesus and sincerely ask him to be his or her savior.

Jesus, who has the power and authority to hold together every atom in the universe, is the same Jesus who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected to declare his power to triumph over death. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Are you ready to meet him in this world or the next? If you would like to learn more, please visit our Next Steps page.

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week in the Christian Calendar and marks the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered and waved palm branches. Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.

That’s why, when Jesus approached the City of David riding on a donkey it seemed to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
Zechariah 9:9

As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:10

The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.

Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal live to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.

What is a Moral compass?

What is a Moral compass?

A magnetic compass is a tool that helps find your way to a destination and back home again. However, it points to a changing magnetic north, not to the unchanging ‘true north,’ where map lines of longitude converge at the pole. Mariners of old used celestial navigation to locate their position. Their tool was a nautical sextant. Their guiding light was most often the North Star although other celestial bodies were also used. Today, satellites and GPS help travelers navigate on air, land or sea to find their final destination.

moral compass—a set of core values and beliefs—on the other hand is an important tool that guides a person through the challenges, dangers, and temptations of modern life and toward a godly, satisfying future. God has provided that moral compass, the Bible. It is God’s inspired unchanging Word, full of truth and wisdom, interpreted for you by the Holy Spirit. It becomes a person’s moral compass when it is read, studied and internalized and so that in school, the workplace and in relationships it will help you decide right from wrong, truth from lies and lead to the true north, Jesus Christ.

Men and women are created in God’s image with a purpose that gives meaning to life and glory to God. That purpose is to honor God with your life and your work, love your neighbor as yourself and to accomplish the good works God has planned for every follower of Jesus Christ. That means God has a plan to give each believer hope and a fantastic future. The greatest adventure in life is to discover God’s plan and live it to the fullest. God’s moral compass is a tool that will guide the way. Remember, it is only Jesus Christ who can assure that at the end of life you will reach heaven as your final destination.

Photo by Brian Regrut

Does man have a Noble purpose or do we just exist? Part 2

Does man have a Noble purpose or do we just exist? Part 2

Last week we took an overview approach to answer this question focusing on God’s love. This week we have taken an in-depth search of Scriptures to see what else we can discover about whether or not mankind has a noble purpose ordained by its creator, God.

First, what is man that God is mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4). Well, God created man, a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5), with a purpose to rule over the planet Earth (Genesis 1:28). This purpose was in direct conflict with the former most powerful ruler of Earth, Satan.  Satan attacks man even to this day to remove man as ruler and for Satan to try to gain back his rule over Earth and to destroy Israel.

But, Jesus the Lord God takes on flesh of a man (Hebrews 2:9), coming to Earth as the “son of man.” This son of man defeats Satan at the cross, and is crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9; Psalm 8:5). Jesus raises man to a highly elevated position as a son of God and brother of Jesus, through placement in Christ (Ephesians 2:6) and adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5), for those who receive him (John 1:12). Man is thus raised to the highest place of significance far above that of the place of Satan.

Such a work of God brings glory to God revealing his wonderful grace and mercy. Further, after having raised man to a high position in Christ, God then uses man to join with Him in order to carry out God’s will on Earth.

Man’s purpose is thus: To be an instrument used by God in the face of a powerful enemy, wherein God rules planet Earth through man, to accomplish God’s purposes, and so bring glory to God (1Peter 4:11; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:31). Therefore, we can conclude positively from the Scriptures that man has a noble purpose. A purpose that is good and honorable. A purpose that can be admired due to its impressive value in and through the work and activity of God.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.

(Note: The reference to man refers to mankind and includes both men and women, sons and daughters).

Does Mankind have a Noble purpose or do we just exist?

Does Mankind have a Noble purpose or do we just exist?

Mankind was created in the image of God to rule the earth and to fulfill God’s plan of redemption for the human race. Mankind’s role in this plan seems to point to a noble purpose. There are many ways to answer this question and not everyone will agree with our response but it will cause everyone to think more seriously about why mankind is on planet Earth. So, this question will be answered in two parts in successive weeks to give the reader a broad perspective on the biblical concept of a noble purpose.

Mankind has been around a long time. There are signs in cave drawings, primitive rituals, cities that go back more than 12,000 years.Humans have been living in community for the most of our history, reaching beyond mere existence and survival. A lot of smart people including psychologists, philosophers, historians, theologians and just thoughtful people have affirmed that when we live life with a sense of purpose we are healthier, happier, have better relationships and are likely to be more successful.

So, is there a noble purpose for mankind? There are clues; in fact, an abundance of clues. In spite of many attempts to reduce faith in God to rules and rituals, at the heart of God’s self-disclosure is love. If God is love and if God’s self-disclosure is to encourage and support love, then we have discovered a significant clue about a noble purpose. If love is the basis for sustainable personal relationships, restorative justice, caring for those in need, family and community building, and transformational communication, then we have found a noble purpose that has deep roots, a long track record, and universal application that comes directly from the heart and mind of God.

What Does it Mean to Have Your Sins Forgiven?

What Does it Mean to Have Your Sins Forgiven?

To clearly answer this question let me establish some definitional terms. Sin is an intentional or unintentional thought or act that separates us from our relationship with God or our oneness with God. It can be generally characterized as any serious failure in thought or deed that could’ve been avoided.

At a minimum, it is a failure to live up to God’s standards starting with but not limited to just the 10 Commandments. Our level of awareness or conscience helps us know when we have sinned. It is impossible to live with out sinning. The Bible says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That is true because all humans have inherited a sin nature and being no longer perfect they sin. (Romans 3:23)

The emotional, mental and physical burden of living one’s life under sin and it’s negative effect on us and others, without the benefit of forgiveness, is a well-documented fact of life. Everyone, at one time or another, experiences guilt, depression, anger, hate, broken relationships, greed and much more. Fortunately, God’s forgiveness will allow us to live without these burdens negatively consuming our lives. Forgiveness is both a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the moment of salvation and a continuous process for the rest of our lives. The good news of Christ Jesus is that He paid the price for our sins at the cross and now God’s grace will redeem us. When we trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will lift our burdens and make our lives purposeful and joyful. (Romans 5:8)

The Christian pathway to God requires faith and belief in and an experience with God beyond what is completely understandable. The traditional components of God’s forgiveness are a belief in the love of God, an acknowledgment of a sense of wrong thinking or doing (a separation from God), a confession that some thought or act caused the separation, an acknowledgment of the need for reconciliation with God, a genuine regret and request for forgiveness and acceptance of God’s grace and forgiveness and repentance or turning away from sin and following Jesus.

Just ask any of the millions upon millions of Christians who have experienced God’s grace and forgiveness. Remember, don’t forget to ask God as only God can forgive sins. When you do this you will be able to move forward in your life at peace with God and reborn into the continuing newness of life in Christ. And, you will have fellowship with Him now and forever. That’s really Good News.

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

Photo Copyright: gregmack / 123RF Stock Photo

Ash Wednesday isn’t in the Bible, so why do Christians observe it?

Ash Wednesday isn’t in the Bible, so why do Christians observe it?

Since the Apostolic period of the Christian church—the years immediately following the death and resurrection of Jesus—believers have engaged in a period of focus on their sin and God’s forgiveness of that sin. This period of reflection is called Lent or Fortieth and is a period of 40 days leading up to Good Friday and Easter.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, and in many church traditions is a time when Christians gather for corporate confession and individual repentance. At the end of the service, priests, pastors, or church leaders place ashes, in the sign of the cross, on the forehead of believers while saying “from dust you have come, to dust you will return.”

This is a reminder that one’s physical body is temporal, while the spirit is eternal. Therefore, a Christian is asked to reflect on his or her relationship with God and possibly set aside a habit or a pleasure for 40 days to help one focus on Jesus, his sacrifice on our behalf, and on his commands to worship God and love and serve others.

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

How can I leave a Legacy as a Christian?

How can I leave a Legacy as a Christian?

Before we present the answer to this question, allow us to pose another for you to ponder. It may sound a little strange, but think about it for just a moment: what do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Do you want people to say that you were funny, or that you were financially successful? Do you want people to think you were generous or friendly, or a hard worker? Is that enough for you or do you want more? A legacy is about how we are remembered when we are gone. We all leave a legacy. It’s simply a question of what it will be. In fact, you are building your legacy right now. When we die, our legacy lives on. A legacy may even last forever. The Bible says three things in life last forever: God (Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 100:5) The Word of God (Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 119:89) The souls of people (Daniel 12:2, John 3:16, Hebrews 9:27).

If you want to leave a legacy as a Christian, you must build your life around these three eternal things. As a Christian you leave a legacy by investing your time, talent and treasure in God and in the things of God. You get to know him, love him, and serve him. You worship him regularly, and learn his ways. You do things that will give him glory. You give financially to his kingdom through churches, ministries and missionaries who are spreading his word. You listen to his Spirit as He guides and directs you throughout your life. As a Christian, you leave a legacy by knowing the Bible and speaking it to everyone all around you with your life, your words and your actions. You teach God’s word to your kids, you share with your neighbor. God’s word is your authority and source of hope in a lost and broken world. You study God’s word to allow it to inform your life. As you do this, your character changes and you become more like Jesus.

As a Christian, you leave a legacy by investing in other people. People live forever, either with or without God. You share with others how they can know Jesus to ensure they will spend eternity with him. You disciple and mentor people, you love and serve and guide them. People and relationships are the most important thing to God. Jesus loved people and taught them, fed them, healed them and ultimately gave his life for that. At your funeral, what if instead of people saying that you were funny, they said, “here was a man who changed the world because he invested in eternity,” or “here is a woman who invested in God, the word of God, and other people. She is someone who left a great legacy.”

If you want to leave a legacy as a Christian, you must situate your life around these three eternal things. As a Christian you leave a legacy by investing your time, talent and treasure in God and in the things of God. You get to know him, love him, and serve him. You worship him regularly, and learn his ways. You do things that will give him glory. You give financially to his kingdom through churches, ministries and missionaries who are spreading his word. You listen to his Spirit as He guides and directs you throughout your life. As a Christian, you leave a legacy by knowing the Bible and speaking it to everyone all around you with your life, your words and your actions. You teach God’s word to your kids, you share with your neighbor. God’s word is your authority and source of hope in a lost and broken world. You study God’s word to allow it to inform your life. As you do this, your character changes and you become more like Jesus.

As a Christian, you leave a legacy by investing in other people. People live forever, either with or without God. You share with others how they can know Jesus to ensure they will spend eternity with him. You disciple and mentor people, you love and serve and guide them. People and relationships are the most important thing to God. Jesus loved people and taught them, fed them, healed them and ultimately gave his life for that. At your funeral, what if instead of people saying that you were funny, they said, “here was a man who changed the world because he invested in eternity,” or “here is a woman who invested in God, the word of God, and other people. She is someone who left a great legacy.”