Tag Archives: glory to God

The Gratitude of Grace

Today’s verse speaks of who truly honors God – “whoever offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (NASB). The Message translation calls this living the “praising life.” The Bible says that we were created to glorify God (see Isaiah 43:7). Psalm 50:23 makes it clear that we are living out our purpose to glorify God when we live “in the gratitude of grace.” The real question is how well are we bringing God glory with our gratitude of grace? 

If we are honest about this question, if we are honest about the thanksgiving we have lived out today, it is likely the thankfulness is not very evident. We spend so much of our time thinking we have earned what we have, that we are entitled to certain things. We overlook our daily blessings because we do not spend time considering life without them. When something good comes our way, our initial response usually isn’t to thank God for provision, for blessings, for protection, etc. Though God is alive and active, and very much moving in the world today, we oftentimes allow God to be boxed up, whereas we only need interact or thank Him when we have a grand request. Everything is separate. Everything else we can handle in our own strength. 

Without our life lived in the gratitude of grace, our testimony of the Gospel is silenced. If we do not spend time praising Him, pointing to Him, honoring Him, etc., what does everyone see? When we aren’t pointing to God, our fingers are always pointing elsewhere—to ourselves, to others, etc. 

How can we truly live in the gratitude of grace? We can devote more time listing reasons we are thankful, spending each day trying to find more reasons God deserves all praise and glory. We can receive the Gospel daily to remind us of the free gift of God’s grace. We can pour out that freshly received grace to others as we go about our day. We can pause to breathe in God’s grace and meditate on His goodness. What are you thankful for today?

“The life that pleases me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace, always choosing to walk with me in what is right. This is the sacrifice I desire from you. If you do this, more of my salvation will unfold for you.” – Psalm 50:23 [TPT]

Small Beginnings

Today my daughter received her college acceptance letter. What an exciting moment celebrating her invitation into the biochemistry program she desires to begin her journey toward a career in pathology. Yet when I think of this new journey she is about to embark upon, I am reminded of a recent fortune cookie statement – “All great things had small beginnings.”

This interest she has in pathology was something she developed as a young child watching Dr. G: Medical Examinerwith me. This seed then blossomed over years of schooling and research. As we celebrate today as a family, we recognize it was small things that led to this great thing. It also will take a lot of study and sacrifice to reach the end goal; lots of small things that will lead up to the great things. 

With social media today, we are shown a lot of great things, but we do not see the back story. We see the grand vacation photos, but not the overtime hours or intense saving with a budget that went on to offer a great opportunity with no additional debt. We see well-behaved children and fancy dinners and homes decorated to look like the homes shown in magazines. We do not see the small beginnings; we do not see all that has led up to this very moment.

It is truly a blessing to look back on all the small beginnings of life and see how God has moved. It is awesome to look at how God used our faithful obedience, our struggles, etc. all for His good purpose and for His glory. May we give Him praise as we remember the small beginnings. May we stay focused on what matters, remembering that the social media posts we see are only showing us what someone wants us to see. May we stay humble, remembering that God is in control and every great thing is only great because He has paved the way and opened the doors. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

“He is your praise and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awe-inspiring works your eyes have seen.” – Deuteronomy 10:21 [CSB]

Whatever Happens

The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!

Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]

Demanding an Audience

As a baby, we do many things for the attention of our parents. We continue to do what we can for attention as we grow. At some point, we learn that we aren’t supposed to be seeking all this attention, that this attention should be for God alone. We are to live in a way that we point to Christ Jesus and glorify Him by our words and actions.

Even so, we often get caught in situations where we try to get attention. We get excited when someone with a reputation has recognized us. Some of us want so badly to be seated near these distinguished people. Backstage passes are coveted. Seats near those in charge are desired. We want to “push for a place among the great.”

This is something we all do in life, but it was never something Jesus did. He didn’t demand an audience. He didn’t push for a place to sit beside those who were considered high up on the food chain. Instead, He ate with sinners. He lived His life to glorify the Father. Today, ask if your words and actions glorify God—or if you are demanding an audience? Are you pointing to Jesus or are you pointing to yourself?

“Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great.” – Proverbs 25:6 [NLT]

Pure in Own Eyes

It is very easy to point out problems that we see with other people. Most of us have blinders on when we look at ourselves. We think we aren’t so bad. We like to think fairly well of ourselves. If we have done something bad, it certainly wasn’t as bad as what some others are doing. Perhaps you are pure in your own eyes.

You can think and say all you want about yourself—and you likely have tricked yourself in thinking you are good. You can be pure in your own eyes, but that doesn’t make you pure. All of us are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The LORD examines motives. The LORD sees your heart. The LORD knows you better than you know you! It doesn’t matter how pure you consider yourself.

Today, ask for the LORD to open your eyes. Ask that He reveal to you anything that shouldn’t be there. Be more intentional in looking at your motives.

“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.” – Proverbs 16:2 [NLT]

Glory to His Name

We have been given the privilege and authority to share the Good News. We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity to tell people everywhere what God has done. As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done in our own lives, the Spirit will grow the kingdom of God. When people believe, they will obey. In doing so, God will be glorified.

We have a great role in the Kingdom. It is not something to take lightly. God has sent us to go to the nations and this requires dedication and sacrifice. We have been given everything we need to do what He has called us to accomplish. We simply need to walk in faithful obedience.

Today, embrace the privilege and authority He has given you. Ask the Spirit how you can share what God has done for you. You are a chosen vessel, but remember the Spirit does the rest. Pray that those who hear about Jesus will open their hearts, believe, and obey. To God be the glory.

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to His name.” – Romans 1:5 [NLT]

But As For Me

In Psalm 59, we read about people who wander about for food, growling when they are not satisfied. What imagery we get from the Psalmist. It is easy to picture. The Psalmist continues, “But as for me.” I love it. “But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love.”

Life is difficult. Indeed. Even so, we have the choice to embrace God and the life He’s given us—to move forward as He leads. Or we have a choice to grumble in dissatisfaction and roam around growling.

Today, do you want to be a grumbler like the Israelites? Do you want to growl in dissatisfaction? Or will you be one of the few who say, “But as for me”? You have the choice. Do you look around and thank God for where He has placed you and His many blessings? Do you feel unsatisfied and complain? Will you sing with joy about His power and love?

God calls us to share the Good News with the whole world. Consider how many you reach with your grumbles and growls. Consider how many you reach with songs of praise and thanksgiving. When God gets the glory, eyes are pointed to Him.

“But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love. For You have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.” – Psalm 59:16 [NLT]

The Lord Allows

God selected Moses and Aaron for special roles in leading His people. He also set apart the whole community of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, His special people. In Numbers 16, we read about the rebellion of Korah. The people united against Moses and Aaron. They stood up and claimed two things. The first was true- that all of the people of Israel are set apart. The second part was about greatness. Korah asked why Moses and Aaron acted like they were greater than the rest of the LORD’s people.

We don’t read a bunch of text talking about Moses and Aaron having pride issues. But Korah took the faithfulness of these brothers and made it seem as if they were acting as if they were above the people. The truth was that God placed them in a position above them. Korah was also in a special position. Verse 9 speaks about how they had this great position that allowed them to be near the Lord. However, that wasn’t enough for them. Moses and Aaron had a larger role in their eyes. As a result, they incited a rebellion.

Moses and Aaron allowed the Lord to intercede. Moses understood that it was God Who selected those who enter the presence of the Lord. Moses was a mere man. He also spoke about his calling and recalled “all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own.” He pointed to God as the One. God was behind everything. God allowed everything. It was Korah who had “gone too far.” Today, remember that God places each person in a position. Wherever He places you, rejoice in that position. Be thankful that He wants to use you. May you be a faithful, humble servant of the Lord!

“They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?’ Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.” And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own.’”  – Numbers 16:3, 5, 28 [NLT]

Word and Deed

I often reference the purpose of life. Many people do not realize that we were made to glorify God. People spend a lot of time trying to figure out their purpose. They purchase books. They talk to family, friends, and teachers to gain insight. They try out new things. Everywhere the people look for purpose, but it is only found when the people look to God’s Word. In Isaiah we read that we were created for His glory. We only will find true peace & joy in Christ Jesus. We are only doing what we were created to do when we are doing it for the Lord.

I know this may sound foreign to those who do not yet know Jesus. Sadly, for those who have accepted Jesus Christ, this is sometimes considered as not-so-important. Going to church on Sundays is great, but your walk with Christ is an eternal walk. That means every second of every day—every breath you take—you are walking with Jesus. Paul wrote that everything we do or say should be done in the name of Jesus. Everything we do should glorify our Father. The NLT translates this verse to call us a representative of Jesus Christ. That means we should represent Him. A representative means spokesman. It means you have been chosen to speak or act on someone’s behalf. Consider the verse. This means YOU, as a believer in Jesus Christ, as a follower of the King, as a child of God, YOU are a representative of Jesus Christ. That means what you say and what you do should be said and done on behalf of Jesus.

Today, consider your words and deeds. Do your words and your actions represent Jesus? Do people see Jesus when they look at you? Would Jesus say the words that come out of your mouth? Would Jesus do the things you are doing? Focus on bringing God glory today.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 [ESV]

“Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” – Isaiah 43:7 [NASB]

 

Held Back

I am not much of a runner; however, I have been blessed over the past few years to watch my daughter run for Cross Country. She loves running Cross Country. Running the race, is not simply about being the winner—as there can only be one—but also about beating a personal record or P.R., as the experienced runners know it to be called. My daughter was always about beating her P.R., but recently she has been held back. The thing she loved most about running, that time alone to clear her mind and reconnect, was not happening because she couldn’t focus.

My daughter’s friend wanted to move up and join the high school practices due to transportation issues. The friend is a bit slower and loves to talk more than my daughter (I didn’t think that was possible). The practices no longer were about body conditioning, preparing for the season. The runs were no longer a time of peace and enjoyment. My daughter found herself being held back, running at a slower pace. With her friend’s gift of gab, they also were missing some instructions for some of the practice runs. This caused them to get lost a few times, run shorter or longer courses, and my daughter unnecessary stress. My daughter and I had a long talk about boundaries and goals.

Friends are great. Relationships are important. In life, we have a choice who we invest our lives in. We also have a choice of who we surround ourselves with and we have a choice of priorities. Jesus should have first place in our lives. The Bible tells us to love God and love others, to go and make disciples, to serve—we have choices to make to see these things through. Paul wrote that we should give everything our best as if for the Lord. All is for His glory. When we allow ourselves to be held back, for our focus to drift, if we surround ourselves with people who will constantly keep us from being where God wants us, we are not properly aligned. Today, reflect on God’s will for your life. Consider your relationships. Look at the boundaries you have in your life so that you are able to pursuit the goals God placed before you. Above all, make sure you connect with Him today—in His Word and in prayer.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:17 [NLT]