THE GLORY OF GOD

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To begin this study it is important that we examine the subject from its earliest appearances in the sacred scriptures so that we might find precedence and follow its development throughout holy writ. The word under consideration (glory) has been applied to both God and man,

however in the interest of this study, only its references to God will be taken into account; hence our title: The Glory of God. 

The first reference to the glory of God in the Old Testament (O.T.) is found in Exodus 16:7 “And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: …” In this reference the word glory is most accurately transliterated, KeVOD. The upper case letters represent the Hebrew (Heb.) consonants while the lower case letters represent the Heb. vowels as they are most accurately rendered into English from the Tiberian system of vocalization. In the Mesoretic text KeVOD is preceded by the sign of a direct object which makes the word a noun. Its root can be found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance under ref.# 3519 of the Heb. dictionary. The second letter in the word can be pronounced as a B or a V depending on whether or not (respectively) it contains dagesh forte (a symbol placed within certain Heb. consonants to indicate certain pronunciations). In Ex. 16:7 KeVOD takes a rare form in that it contains the letter vav or waw. When this letter has holem above it, it becomes long letter o, which is why our transliteration renders the o in upper case. Otherwise the o would be indicated by the lower case. These factors will be reflected in this study when applicable. The definition – Strong’s Heb. Dic. Ref. 3519. from 3513; prop. weight; but only fig. in a good sense, splendor or copiousness:–glorious (-ly), glory, honour (-able).

 In the context of Ex.16:7, God’s glory is predicted. The fulfillment of the prediction was seen in the manifested splendor of God appearing in a cloud in the wilderness (16:10) and in the copious supply of a heretofore unknown food from heaven as well as the quail in the evening (16:13-15). The splendor of God’s manifested presence and the copiousness of His provision were both seen as a result of God hearing the murmurings of the children of Israel. From this we can see both explicit and implicit aspects of the glory of God. As we continue our study we will see that God desired to unfold for Moses and the children of Israel and ultimately for the human family those implied aspects of His glory. In order to have a proper context and development of our subject it is vital that we get God’s perspective of His glory. For this perspective we will look to the Ex.33:12-23 through Ex.34:1-8 for a dialogue between God and Moses. 

Ex.33:12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. 14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. 15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are on the face of the earth. 17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. 

Ex.34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou brakest. 2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto Mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before the mount. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up into Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. 5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passes before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 

In Ex.33:18 Moses prayed that he might see the LORD’s glory and responding to that petition the LORD said, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee, (Ex.33:19). The fulfillment of this promise is found in Ex.34:6-7 where the LORD passed by before Moses and proclaimed His name before Moses. In the proclamation of His name, the LORD began to reveal His glory to Moses. In proclaiming His name before Moses, God revealed the splendor and honour of His nature (understood in the name LORD, Strong’s ref.#3068), of His acts (understood by the term God, #430),and of his character as understood by the list of attributives which the LORD used of Himself when proclaiming His name before Moses. The immediate and appropriate response of Moses to this revelation of God’s glory was to make haste and bow his face toward the ground and worship. The biblical response to true revelation never bolstered human ego or increased self esteem. This often quoted formula in its various manifestations (Num.14:18-19; Jon.4:2; Joel 2:13; Mic.7:18; Nah.1:3; Ps.85:15, 103:8, 145:8; II Chr.30:9; Neh. 9;17,31), gives us a composite sketch of God’s nature, ways, acts- His glory. These passages lay the foundation of what is revealed throughout the rest of the scriptures. 

The next portion of this study will concern Isaiah 6:1-8.

1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 

In this passage Isaiah was given a vision of the glory of God and of an angelic order of beings which occupied themselves with the declaration of God’s holiness. These burning creatures, as their name implies (Strng’s # 8314), covered their faces before the glory of Him who sat on the throne. 

In The Holiness Of God, Dr. R C Sproul described them thus, “The seraphim are not sinful men burdened with impure hearts.  Yet as angelic beings they are still creatures, and even in their lofty status as consorts of the heavenly host it is necessary for them to shield their eyes from a direct gaze on the face of God.  They are fearfully and wonderfully made, equipped by their Creator with a special pair of wings to cover their faces in His majestic presence.”  

Isaiah’s response was to declare his own woefulness, undoneness, and sin. The prophet was not rebuked or corrected for declaring his own unworthiness. Seeing his own unworthiness was the natural consequence of beholding a vision of the LORD’s glory. The prophet’s response made it possible for him to receive God’s remedy which was administered to him by the seraph, though not directly (vs.6-7). The end result of this vision of the glory of God was a call to service, for when the prophet saw the glory, he recognized his own shame, which led to his confession, which opened the way of purging, which made him fit for service, hence a continuation of the declaration of the holiness and glory of God.

Oh LORD of all creation, let us see you and die to ourselves and our selfish ways that are so destructive to rightness.  Let your ways and acts be exalted and extolled.  In the name of Jesus Christ, let this be.

Citation: The Holiness Of God by R C Sproul; chapter 2, page 37, paragraph 2.

He Has His Way In The Whirlwind Part I

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The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power,
and will not at all acquit the wicked:
the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.~Nahum1:3

The term, whirlwind, is used to describe phenomena in nature where air currents are caused to spin on vertical axes, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. These vortices are caused by pressure gradients in an atmosphere that seeks equilibrium. These vertical spinning columns of air vary greatly in size, strength and origin.

While working in the Sonoran Desert, I noted several places where whirlwinds would form very predictably. The Geology and topography of the land along with the powerful desert sun beating down on the landscape all converged to cause daily updrafts which would form dust devils that reached thousands of feet into the sky. I can only surmise as to exactly how tall they were, however, they were visible from more than ten miles away and were seen in the same places and approximately the same times every day, as they spun and reached from the desert floor high into the sky.

In the plains of the United States, whirlwinds are caused by powerful thunderstorms. These fearsome whirlwinds are called Tornadoes. While the environment derives multiple benefits from a good thunderstorm, tornadoes are malefactors and very dangerous. I can not ascribe any good qualities directly to a tornado or its works. Although very powerful, the energy of these storms can not be harvested and they will not lend themselves to any useful work. They cause only destruction and leave pain and misery in their wakes. Each year, tornadoes kill many people and cause much costly destruction to lives and property.  Some communities are destroyed utterly, never to be rebuilt while others survive with varying degrees of damage. Tornadoes are very unpredictable in where they touch down and how they travel. The unpredictability and uncontrollability of tornadoes lend to their terrifying reality.

The greatest of all whirlwinds is the hurricane or typhoon. Both names represent tropical cyclones. These storms derive their power from the heat energy of tropical seas and often span one hundred miles across. Islands are devastated annually by these massive whirlwinds.

The best defense against whirlwinds is a pre warning so that those who might suffer from their destructive power might get clear of their paths or take cover where their wrath will not reach. It is noteworthy that whirlwinds are dissipated by large geological features such as mountains.

As we consider Nahum 1:3, we should understand that the book of Nahum is a companion to Jonah.  In Jonah, God spared Nineveh after the preaching and to the chagrin of the prophet, Jonah.  Jonah preached to Nineveh and there was repentance throughout the land.

Jonah 3:4 – 4:2

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. 

​ But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

Approximately 100 years after the revival in Nineveh, the Prophet Nahum came again preaching to Nineveh which had returned to her evil ways.  Notice in the last paragraph (Jonah 4:2) where Jonah complained to the LORD about His sparing of the city because He is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, of great kindness, and relenting from judgement.  Though Jonah expressed great displeasure, he gave glory to God (probably unintentionally) when he expressed his confidence in God’s willingness to spare a repentant people.  Jonah’s attitude was not pleasing to God, but oh that we might have the same confidence in God’s willingness to redeem and spare those to whom we preach.  Nahum’s message came to a more obstinate Nineveh.  This time there would be no sparing of the city.  It is also the glory of God that he does not arbitrarily clear the guilty.

The Prophet Nahum opened his message (Nahum 1:3) with a variant of what Jonah complained about in 4:2 of his book.  This revelation of God’s character was first mentioned in Ex.34:6-7.  These words were spoken by the LORD himself and were repeated and rehearsed in various places in holy writ.  See post, The Glory Of God, for a list of those citations.  

For the sake of context consider Nahum 1:1-3.  The title of this study was derived from verse 3.

Nahum 1:1-3

Nahum

​ The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 

God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth,

and is furious;

the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries,

and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. 

The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power,

and will not at all acquit the wicked:

the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm,

and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Oh LORD God, merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; open our eyes to see the kindness and severity of your holy ways.  To you be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Set Your Sails-Heave To

imagePsalms 107:21-30
Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and declare his works with rejoicing.
They that go down to the sea in ships,
that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord,
and his wonders in the deep.
For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,
which lifteth up the waves thereof.
They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths:
their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
and are at their wits’ end.
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble,
and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm,
so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

In the summer of 2012, shortly after I acquired my sail boat, I began reading about and researching sailing. As far back as I can remember, I have had a silent fascination with sailing vessels. In 2002 the tall ships came to Detroit and docked on the river. Tall ships enough that those most distant appeared microscopic. In sailing vessels, there is a unique romance which can not be experienced in other water borne modes of transport. For the enthusiast, there is great appeal even in the creaks and squeaks that are peculiar to sailing vessels; creaks and squeaks caused by the lilting movement of boats as they bob and sway in gentle waves.

There is also the fascination of learning and practicing the positions of sail as well as various other maneuvers and factors that are unique to sailing. There is launching with its many nuances, more varied than the 360 points on a compass multiplied by any number of weather conditions. There is the raising of the sails. There are the five points of sail and their countless conditions.

In the first days of my sailing experience, I was uneasy and concerned about the possibility of capsizing. Though concerned, my uneasiness was outweighed by my determination to learn to sail and experience the thrill of being moved by the wind; the thrill of controlling my vessel as she plowed the high seas (made ripples in small inland lakes). During one of these early excursions, I was beating with wind from port (moving toward starboard) in rather heavy winds. The vessel’s rigging was really tested as I had not previously seen. That day she was powered by two sails, the Genoa and the Main. The Genoa was attached to the forestay and overlapped the mast and the lower luff of the main. As I pulled the tiller to come about and tac to port, I was slow to release the Starboard Genoa Sheet from the fairlead and expected a lot of heeling and unsteadyness. To my surprise the choppiness of the water as well as the strength of the wind seemed to just settle down. The waves were still in fact there. The choppiness had not ceased. The winds were just as powerful as before I pulled the tiller. What was this sudden calming of the weather and seeming abatement of the stresses on the vessel’s rigging? I had unwittingly HOVE TO. HOVE TO is the past tense and past participial form of HEAVE TO.

When a sailboat captain performs the HEAVE TO maneuver, he sets his sails in opposition to each other, at perhaps a 90 degree angle so that the wind is split at the mast and spills around the sails in opposite directions at approximately 45 degrees. In this position, the sails cancel each other and produce opposing whirls on the leeward (downwind) side of the sails.

The Heave To maneuver is very useful when sailing in exceptionally adverse conditions because though the sailing captain has no ability to control the weather and wind, he may adjust the members of his craft so that the stresses on the rigging and on the passengers and crew are minimized. The winds and waves are just as powerful and boisterous during the Heave To as before this vessel calming maneuver was executed. What has changed is the attitude of the vessel and her members to the storm.

This maneuver can be a vessel and life saver when a vessel, captain, crew and passengers find themselves far from any harbor and in waters too deep and too rough to drop anchor. Continuing in stormy conditions is extremely taxing on the vessel, crew and passengers. It is vital for the vessel that her crew get sufficient rest and refreshment. If the captain, and crew are not properly rested, they may not make the best decisions or take proper actions for the journey. Improper decisions and actions could lead to the lost of the vessel and all those aboard.

During stormy conditions it is more difficult to get rest while under way. When a vessel is Hove To, the passengers and crew are able to rest and refresh themselves for a while even in the midst of a great storm. The storm still rages and the waves are just as violent as before, but when a vessel is Hove To, she rides the waves and winds in a much more tolerable manner for all those aboard. The Heave To maneuver is not one that makes progress in the way of distance traveled. Progress may actually be lost, but in the process of losing some progress, the crew, passengers and even the very vessel may be saved by the decision to Heave To.

Oh Lord God, Captain of our salvation and of the LORD’s host; we pray that you would speak to the storms in our lives. We trust that you have the power to speak and even the winds and waves will obey you. We ask that you would command the storms to be still. Never the less, if it is your will that we ride out the storms, we implore you to be with us. Be our Captain. We ask that you would cause our vessels to Heave To by your command and instruction. We ask for rest in your care until you have brought us to safe haven. In the name of JESUS CHRIST we pray, Amen.

Set Your Sails-Beam Reach

Reaching sails with wind from starboard beam.

Reaching sails with wind from starboard beam.

The Five Points of Sail

The Five Points of Sail

There are five points of sail. The points of sail are determined by the angle at which the wind hits the sails. If the wind is blowing strait from 12:00 to 6:00 on the clock then sailing closest to the wind toward 1:30 would be CLOSE HAULED. 2:00-2:30 would be a CLOSE REACH. 3:00 would be a BEAM REACH. Approximately 4:00-500 would be a BROAD REACH. Toward 6:00 would be RUNNING. The fastest and perhaps the most thrilling point of sail is the BEAM REACH. During a beam reach, the wind hits the sails from a 90 degree angle to the direction of travel. If you were sailing towards 3:00 or 9:00 and the wind is blowing from 12:00 to 6:00, then you’d be sailing on a BEAM REACH. See the illustration above. When we consider that modern sails act as vertically positioned wings using their airfoil shapes to produce low pressure areas to propel the vessel then it is easier to understand why the beam reach is the fastest way to sail. Note the word easier rather than easy in the last statement. I do not imply that the factors that make sailing possible are easy to understand, nor do I claim to thoroughly understand everything that happens when sailing.

Sailing is a function of multiple factors in fluid dynamics coming together. There is a saying among those who study fluid dynamics, “Big whirls have little whirls that feed on their velocity, little whirls have lesser whirls and so on to viscosity.” This speaks to the impossibility of any system being 100% efficient. It seems that for any system that uses a source of energy to work, there must be dissipation of energy to cause imbalances in a physical system which seeks balance. So there goes our dreams of producing a 100% efficient system.

The combination of partly cloudy skies, temperatures between 55 degrees fahrenheit and 85 degrees fahrenheit, low humidity and rather strong but constant winds produces ideal conditions for sailing. Most sailors really enjoy sailing in such conditions. Rarely am I able to see a flag fully aloft in the wind on a beautiful day without considering how I might adjust my sails to capture the power of those winds.

Perfection comes in many forms, from cloudless skies to partly cloudy to overcast. I relish the many varieties of perfect sailing conditions. It’s very nice when my destination happens to coincide with winds that allow for a beam reach. Beam reaching is when the wind hits the vessel from 90 degrees to the direction of travel. Beam reaching is the fastest way to sail. Beam reaching directly toward one’s destination on a beautiful day. For what more could a sailer ask? Sometimes I will even go away from my destination just because the winds allow for a thrilling beam reach that does not happen to coincide with my goal. Sometimes my destination is actually determined by the thrill of the ride which is determined by how I might best catch the wind to obtain a beam reach.

Sometimes in life, we may find very exceedingly rare occurrences when our goals seem to be in perfect alignment with God’s will. To date, I do not feel that this has been my lot. When we are able to really know that we are moving and acting in God’s grace then we ought to thank Him and savor every moment of those most fortunate times.

In scripture we find the story of Joseph who endured years of affliction as a result of the bitterness and jealousy of his brothers as well as the false witness of Potiphar’s wife whom he had rightly rejected. It was only after patiently enduring these afflictions and maintaining his integrity and trusting in his God that Joseph was exalted to his high place in Egypt. Once exalted, Joseph continued to serve the God of Israel with all his heart. God’s grace was on Joseph and he was endowed with God’s wisdom. It appeared that everything was finally going in Joseph’s favor. Because of Joseph’s God-given wisdom, the people of Egypt were saved from starvation during years of famine and the government of Egypt amassed great wealth and lands. Through the actions and legacy of Joseph the nation of Israel was preserved and multiplied greatly.

I encourage you to read Genesis chapters 37-50 for the story of Joseph.

If you happen to find yourself in the place where it seems everything is going in your favor, continue to serve God with all your heart. Enjoy the season where and when you can sense God’s grace while there are no storms. Know also that conditions will change but God if faithful.

Lord Jesus we thank you for the extravagant grace that you show toward all humanity in that you have done everything necessary for the salvation of souls and abundant life. Your grace makes our circumstances favorable to our salvation and sanctification, even when we do not understand. We commit ourselves to your care and thank you for those times when we think things are going our way. We thank you for those times when things do not seem to go our way but actually help us to see our desperate need for you so that in reality we are blessed in difficulty. To the saving name of Lord Jesus Christ be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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Set Your Sails-Come About

Beating with wind from starboard.

Beating with wind from starboard.

A very fascinating part of sailing is the ability to beat. Beating is sailing against the wind at an angle. Beating is possible because modern sails act as vertically positioned wings. As the wind blows around the sails, the air currents on the leeward (downwind) side of the sails have to increase in velocity because of the curved shape of the sails. The increase in speed causes something called Ventouri Effect. This effect was named after the scientist who was given credit for explaining it.

When fluids flow around objects which have surface areas that are larger on one side than the other, the fluids must speed up around the larger side. This increase in speed causes a corresponding decrease in pressure. If the forces are great enough to overcome the inertia of the object then the object will be forced to move in the direction of less pressure. This is the lifting force which makes flight and sailing possible.

Although I do not believe they understand what they do, prairie dogs use the same pressure gradient producing principles to ventilate their burrows. They construct their burrows so that there are connecting tunnels which terminate at the tops of mounds as well as in lower areas where there are no mounds. The lower areas have higher fluid pressure than the mounds so air is forced into the lower areas and exhausts out of the mounds due to the curved shape. This is Ventouri Effect. There is a possibility that prairie dogs do understand these principles, but seeing I do not speak prairie dog, I have not been able to question one to ascertain their mastery of these things. I contribute this habit to the instinct which The Creator has given to them for their survival.

When the captain charts his course, he may beat in order to get closer to his destination, but if his destination is not directly in line with that heading then to continue on this heading will take him and his vessel away from his goal. If the destination is up wind then the captain must COME ABOUT. This is when the captain must change his course by turning his vessel directly through the wind, through the NO GO ZONE (approximately 90 degrees of 360 degrees where sailing can not happen). He must ensure that his vessel has enough momentum to carry through where the sails can not produce power. If the captain does not execute his maneuver properly and decisively then he and his vessel will get stuck IN IRONS. When a vessel is in irons, her sails blow in the wind as does a flag. This luffing of the sails produces much noise, places undue stress and wear on the sails and produces absolutely no power to propel the vessel in the desired direction. If the captain does not correct this, the vessel will lose some of its progress and will begin to move backwards.

Sometimes in life it seems that we may have found a good pattern and course. Sometimes not so much a good pattern as one that is just familiar. We can not forecast the many challenges we may face and we may find that our present course will cause us to collide with others as we go. We find also that there are obstacles which could not be perceived (subsurface), but must be avoided at all cost. If we continue on such courses the damage and harm inflicted upon ourselves and others can be great. At such times we must have the humility to correct our course or we must possess the discernment to help others who may need course correction.

2 Timothy 2:25-26
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Our ability to see our selves takes a great deal of honesty. Our ability to address the shortcomings of others is much easier. When the master spoke to His disciples, He did not deny the speck that individuals might have seem in others, but they were first to deal with their own hypocrisy by removing the beam from their own eyes so that they might see more clearly to remove the specks from the eyes of others.

Matthew 7:3-5
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Galatians 6:1
Chapter 6
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Rather than hardening our hearts, we ought to consider conviction to be a gift of God’s grace. Because of the hardness of our deceitful hearts, we find it difficult sometimes to see our sin for what it really is. God is so merciful that He may allow us to receive a message of course correction. Let us not despise God’s provision because we do not necessarily approve of the channel of communication. If we are warned of impending inconvenience, trouble, heartache or even danger then COME ABOUT. If we refuse to change our course it could lead to much misery. If we are too slow to COME ABOUT we may get stuck -IN IRONS- a place of much noise, losing of progress and unnecessary ware and stress on our lives. We must not stay in the NO GO ZONE.

When The Captain of our salvation, through his word, has given us the command to come about then we should thank Him for His mercy and grace toward us and execute the maneuver decisively.

Oh Lord, you are long-suffering toward us. Thank you for your patience and kindness in granting us conviction and repentance unto the acknowledging of the truth so that we might be made whole. We submit ourselves to your work and trust that you are able to bring us to safe harbor. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Set Your Sails

imageimageIn June of 2012, an old but sincere desire of mine was fulfilled. I became the owner and captain of a small sailing vessel. A 13.5′ Sloop to be more precise. This modest vessel is equipped with a 19.5′ mast which when stepped (raised) is secured to the deck with a forestay (a cable that goes from the top front of the mast to the bow plate) and shrouds (cables which go from the top sides of the mast to chainplates on both the starboard and port sides of the vessel). This modest vessel stands more than 20′ tall on the water. She is equipped with two sails, a main sail which provides control and a genoa which is the power house of the vessel. She is also equipped with a rudder and a daggerboard. Every part of the vessel is necessary for sailing so we must not neglect to mention the hull.

This sailing vessel is also equipped with a number of lines. There are no ropes on her. Every line has a name and a very specific purpose. At the front is the bow line which is used in conjunction with the stern line in the rear to secure the vessel when docking. The lines used to control the sails are called sheets. Extending from the clew (back-bottom) of the genoa (fore sail) is the genoa sheet. This sheet is a single line connected to the genoa in its middle. If this sheet were a total of 30′ then it would be connected to the fore sail at the 15′ mark. This allows the fore sail to be drawn to starboard (right) or port (left) whenever needed. This sheet is then secured to either the starboard or port side of the vessel in fairleads. My vessel has three sheets. The main sheet is used to control the main sail. The starboard genoa sheet is used to draw the genoa to the starboard side of the vessel when the wind is hitting the sails from port. The port genoa sheet is used to draw the genoa to the port side of the vessel when the wind is hitting the sails from starboard. The lines used to raise the sails are called halyards. My vessel has two halyards, the main halyard and the Genoa halyard.

Attached to the shrouds are small strips of material called tell tales. These are viewed to determine the direction of the wind so that the sails might be adjusted most efficiently. At the clew of the main sail is a small line called the outhaul which secures the back bottom of the main sail to the boom. At the tack of the main sail is a line called the downhaul which secures the front bottom of the main sail to the bottom of the mast. The rudder is used for steering and the dagger board prevents side slide. Without the dagger board this vessel can go only in the direction of the wind. When the dagger board is in place, something very fascinating happens. This wind powered vessel is actually able to go against the wind at an angle of about 45 degrees. Not only can she go against the wind, but this wind powered vessel actually goes faster against the wind at 45 degrees than when sailing with the wind. This at first glance seems counter intuitive. But when the physics of sailing is examined, this has to be. A key factor in this fascinating reality is the wing like shape of the sails. Rather than being employed only for resistance (sailing with the wind), they work in conjunction with the dagger board and rudder below the surface and the wind blowing around the sails (which actually act as vertically positioned wings) above the surface to produce pressure gradients both under water and above the surface.

The sum of these fluid forces produces forward momentum when the various members are adjusted properly, regardless of the direction of the wind. It does not matter in which direction the wind is blowing. If the sails on the vessel are of the proper shape and the sails, dagger board and rudder are set properly in relation to each other, the vessel may find its way to the desired destination. Imagine a clock. If the wind is blowing from 12:00 to 6:00, the vessel may sail in any direction beginning at 2:00 and going clockwise all the way around to 10:00. The vessel may not be able to sail directly against the wind, from 6:00 to 12:00 or between 10:00 and 2:00 (in irons), but her captain may adjust her members so that she may beat against the wind at 45 degrees. If he wants to sail from the 6:00 position to the 12:00 position then he would have to tack (zigzag at 45 degrees to the wind) from 6:00 to 3:00 to 12:00.

The easiest and possibly most dangerous way to sail is with the wind. This is due to the possibility of a jibe (sudden swing of the boom from one side of the vessel to the other side due to a shift in the wind). People have been killed and severely injured by uncontrolled jibes. It is striking that the vessel travels markedly faster while tacking or beating against the wind at a 45 degree angle than while sailing with the wind.

The winds can not be seen, but when the captain looks at the tell tales, he then knows how to adjust the members of his vessel to embark on his journey, making necessary adjustments as the winds shift and change. A seasoned captain does everything in his ability to maintain control of his craft. With the skills gained through experience and various conditions, he charts his course with the determination to carry his goods and passengers to safe harbor.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Oh Lord, teach and help us to trust that you are the Perfect Captain of our salvation.  Help us to know that though we can not predict how the winds of life will blow, you our Captain are able to calm the storms and bring us to safe harbor.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

 

And The Word Was Made Flesh

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

We dare to speak of this great mystery by which men may become godly.

When Paul wrote to Timothy in the aforementioned verse, he made reference to the mystery of godliness. This reference was not to the divinity but rather to the piety that was made possible for humanity through the actions of God. For a definition of piety, see notes at the end of this discussion. These actions were enumerated, though not exhaustively, in the same verse beginning with the second clause. Notice the following six actions.

God was manifest in the flesh-John 1:14
Justified in the Spirit-Luke 9:35
Seen of angels-Matthew 3:11
Preached unto the Gentiles-Acts 10:44-47
Believed on in the world-Acts 11:19
Received up into glory-Acts 1:9-10

All of these actions are needed if there will be a redeemed throng from every people group, language, family and nationality, but the first action is absolutely necessary for the accomplishment of the of the remaining five.

In an earlier discussion we commented briefly on God’s highest self disclosure. We understand that He who created the Universe is by that very fact greater than what He has created. We try to understand the vastness of the Universe which is so great that we measure it in light years; how far light travels in one Earth year at the speed of 186,262 miles per second. That would be about 5,880,395,646,720 miles in one year. The closest star to the Earth is approximately 8 light minutes from Earth, about 93,000,000 miles. It is our Sun, a main sequence star. The Sun is so great that by volume it can contain more than 1,000,000 Earths which has a circumference of approximately 25,000 miles. Apart from the Sun, the closest stars to the Earth are the Alpha Centauri A & B and Proxima Centauri triple star system. These are between 4.24-4.4 light years away from the Earth.

Now lets try to get a handle on the immensity of these things. Some astronomers estimate that there are 100,000,000,000,000 galaxies in the Universe and 100,000,000,000,000 stars in each galaxy. Some experts on human anatomy and physiology estimate that there may be as many as 100,000,000,000,000 cells in the human body. That is the same number as the estimate for stars and galaxies in the Universe. The number is ONE HUNDRED TRILLION. Some geneticists tell us that the vast majority of cells in the human body have a complete set of dna in each. Exceptions would be red blood cells and gametes (reproductive cells). This dna is all the information needed to reproduce the host all over again. Geneticists tell us also that if you were able to remove the dna from just one cell and unwind and uncoil it, it would stretch approximately 6 feet. Take this length and multiply it by the number of cells in the human body and the resulting span of uncoiled dna would be long enough to reach from the Earth to the Sun and back about 610 times. We do not understand this. This is too much for us.

Although this is too much, it still speaks to us of the greatness of God’s creation. And the greatness of creation declares the greatness of God.

Psalms 19:1-3
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard.

This is the God who made all things.

John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

This is the God who acted upon himself to become flesh.

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Becoming flesh was not just something that happened to Jesus. It is something that He did. When John wrote that the Word was made flesh, the verb γίνομαι-ginomai, takes the middle voice. This word is used reflexively to indicate that the Word acted upon himself to become flesh.

1 Timothy 3:16
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,…”

God became the Son of man so that men might become the sons of God.

John 1:12
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

God has so honored our race in becoming one of us. God’s greatest self disclosure was in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus we see the reconciliation of God’s justice and our justification (Romans 3:24-26).

Satan is not our biggest problem. Our biggest problem is the wrath of the righteous, holy God. In Jesus we may have peace from God’s wrath.

II Corinthians 5:19
“…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

Hebrews 2:14-17
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Do you believe in the unique, strong, saving, name of JESUS?

Lord Jesus, you are more than wonderful. Your kindness and mercy are past finding out. Let your name be praised for ever and ever, Amen.

Notes on piety:
2150 εὐσέβεια [EU)SE/BEIA] {eusébeia} \yoo-seb’-i-ah\
from 2152; piety; specially, the gospel scheme:–godliness, holiness.

Crisis Part II

John 3 records the words of Jesus in response to Nicodemus. Many have second guessed the sincerity of Nicodemus because of his night visit with Jesus, but The Lord so committed himself to that conversation that in it He proclaimed the greatest truth contained in the Bible. The Lord’s response to Nicodemus’ inquiry has been the seed of countless songs, books, articles, sermons and conversions. Any time one goes to Jesus with an honest heart and pure motivation, He just might have something important, something pivotal to communicate. The best time for any individual, family, community or nation for that matter is when the decision has been made to come to Jesus. This decision is critical. Now consider the text.

John 3:14-18
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Verses 17,18 and 19 contain the words condemn, condemned and condemnation respectively. In verse 19 condemnation is preceded by the definite article. There it reads, “the condemnation”. In Greek it reads, “the crisis”. The crisis is that light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Remember the definition: Crisis, noun: an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty; turning point; time of great stress or danger; a crucial stage or turning point in the course of something.

John 12:27-33
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.

In John 12:31 Jesus referred to a very specific event as, “the judgement of this world”. Here THE JUDGEMENT of the world is once again THE CRISIS. The time in which Jesus Christ was lifted up was the time in which the prince of this world was decidedly defeated. This same time was called in the Greek, “the crisis of this world”.

At that time when the kindest soul to ever walk the earth submitted himself to the abuse of governmental authority, the abuse of religious authority and the abuse of the populace, it was the world that was in fact being judged. Jesus Christ consciously bore the accumulated guilt of every person who would ever trust in Him and there condemned sin in the flesh.

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Humanity attempted to rid the earth of His presence. Pilate wanted to be free of the inconvenience of Him and committed the greatest travesty of justice the world has ever seen, even if it is blind to this fact. Blinded religion attempted to maintain its idea of righteousness by condemning and silencing Him and in the process greatly abused its own principles. The chaotic mob was swayed by its dark and blood thirsty collective psychosis and declared their willingness to bear the guilt of His shed blood. None of these actions accomplished what was desired by the actors. In the book of Job, God addressed the asininity of such ideas when He asked,

Job 40:8
Wilt thou also disannul my judgment?
wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

This hypothetical question from God may have been a reductio ad absurdum where a completely foolish idea is highlighted to illustrate the futility of a premise.

At the time of this crisis, humanity accomplished its absolute worst and there the glory of God’s love, mercy, truth, holiness, righteousness and grace beamed with a radiance that could not have been known prior to the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Colossians and Hebrews 2:14-15 respectively, speak of the defeat of the enemy at the time referred to as the judgement/crisis of this world.

Colossians 2:14-15
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Hebrews 2:14-15
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

In Hebrews 9:27 we find it again. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgement [the crisis].

There are common threads and terms woven throughout these passages. The words; condemn, condemned, condemnation and judgement are all etymologically linked. The Greek root [κρίσις [KRI/SIS] {krísis} \kree’-sis\] as found in John 12 and Hebrews 9 may be transliterated KRISIS. The word in English is CRISIS.

The greatest crisis the world has ever seen materialized when The Lord of Glory submitted himself to the scourge, smiting, spiting, lies, the crown of thorns, the nails and the cross so that by the manifested collective evil of humanity, He might offer himself without spot to God for the redemption of all who put their trust in Him.

Acts 2:23-24
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Hebrews 9:14
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The world has already seen its great crisis. The question is what is your position in relation to the crisis. If your trust is in Jesus the spotless, precious Lamb of God then He was condemned for you. If you do not trust Him then you must bear your own sins.

Oh Lord, grant us the grace to know that we are in desperate need of you so that we may seek you and be found of you. In the precious name of Jesus the Messiah we pray. Amen

Crisis Part I

Crisis, noun: an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty; turning point; time of great stress or danger; a crucial stage or turning point in the course of something

The most recent news is filled with stories of various crises. Local news tells us of the crimes plaguing our cities. Crimes that we hear of so often that we are no longer horrified nor shocked when we hear of them again. This mental callousness, our way of coping, is indicative of the state of crisis in which we live on a daily basis. We have grown so accustomed to this wrongness that we accept it and have learned to exist with it. Do we have a choice? Is there an alternative? We are in crisis.

Regional news tells us of disasters, both natural and man-made. We heard recently of a train derailment in Quebec, Ontario, Canada, where multiple crude oil tanker cars overturned and burst into flames, totally destroying a large portion of the small town. At least 50 people were feared dead in this tragic accident. This town was faced with the loss of family, friends and loved ones. Now it must cope with the clean-up, decontamination, and rebuilding of its community both physically and emotionally. This is a great crisis.

We heard of the poisoning of the school children in India. Twenty-three children died and many were sickened after partaking of the food provided by a free school lunch program. However this food was contaminated by the pesticides that killed and sickened these children and adults, this is a great tragedy. This is a great crisis of which the magnitude only increases if this poisoning were intentional. Anyone with a portion of humanity must hurt at the thought of the deaths of these little ones and the grief striking the hearts of their parents.

On a daily basis, we hear of great and mounting tensions between nations. The possibility of war seems imminent. Some strifes are relatively new while others have continued for centuries. Hatred between and for some people groups is so intense that genocide has been attempted and extinction seems to be a very real danger for some. Whether the crises are natural such as; hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, drought, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornados and famine: or if they are man-made such as; war, crime, pollution, environmental abuse: the world is in crisis. We do not minimize any of these dangers, as apart from God’s protection, mercy and grace, any of us might find our end through any one of them.

History identifies pivotal events of cities, states, provinces, countries, nations, and continents. We can identify the inventions of certain things or processes as crises. Consider the wheel and the positive impact it has made in transportation by its employment in simple carts. Consider man’s control of fire and how it has expanded his habitation. Wheels have eased man’s burdens and controlled fire has illuminated, comforted and warmed him. The same wheels that have eased burdens for innocent activities have also eased the transport of evil intentions. The same controlled fire that has warmed man has burned villages and cities. The wheel and controlled fire have both been pivotal in advancement and have brought death and destruction. Consider the union of the wheel and controlled fire in the automobile and just about every land based powered form of transportation. Even the latest jet engines are based on rotation around an axis in compressor and by-pass turbine blades and controlled fire of burned jet fuel in the exhaust nozzle.

From a purely human perspective, it is debatable as to what events in history are most pivotal. From a New Testament perspective, the message is clear.

The arrival of Jesus Christ into the world was and is the pivotal event of human history. The present date was arrived at by His epochal birth and life. Even when B.C.E. [Before Common Era] is employed instead of B.C. [Before Christ] so that Christ is not acknowledged in the marking historical events in relation to other events, the date is still arrived at by His birth.

Luke 2:9-11
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not:for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

His greatness is unchangeable, unavoidable and inescapable. History has been affected indelibly by the arrival of the man, Jesus Christ. I do not imply that He was merely a man, but in fact the archetypal man and much, much more.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

In Behold The Man, James S. Stewart said,

“If you go climbing among the mountains, you may come occasionally to a lofty pass where the water-courses change their direction. Here a tiny rivulet makes its inconspicuous way to join the rivers flowing eastward: yonder, a few yards off, another begins its long winding journey towards the sunset and the western lands. The raindrops falling on one side of the summit may be carried down to the North Sea, while those on the other merge at last in the Atlantic. You are standing at the watershed, where all the streams divide.

Incomparably the most important watershed in the long history of humanity has been the Incarnation of Christ. At this point, the streams divide. After this, the human course and direction are changed.”

John 3:14-18
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 12:27-33
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.

In the next discussion we will take a closer look at these verses from John’s gospel.