Being People of His Glory!
Being People of His Glory!
by Lonnie Lane
I was reading Romans 1 this week and saw something I’d never seen before. It says, “for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened, professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen” (1:21-23,25)
There were no doubt a number of Jewish people in the congregation because Paul mentions the lineage of David in Yeshua’s blood line (:3) which would only have meant something to the Jews there. And then there’s that whole issue of Israel in Romans 9-11, which some theologians believe is the heart of the letter. In these chapters, Paul clarifies how God still sees Israel in His plan of redemption, lest we forget that the gospel, as well as the ground from which it was birthed, came from the Jews. His calling on Israel is still in effect even if Israel on the whole is not following Messiah. Life in Rome was almost entirely antithetic to all that God had given to the Jews as a way of life. Paul was trying to make them realize just how divergent life in Rome was from that which God would have His people live for their well-being.
Contrary to Torah and the prophets, in Rome, homosexuality was considered normal, both for women as well as men. Unwanted children were abandoned, exposed and left to die. (Often it was the Christians who would take them home and raise them as their own children.) Idolatry was a way of life. Divorce was rampant and people had numerous marriages. There were more slaves than ‘citizens’ resulting in a life of self-indulgent leisure for the “citizens” which soon gave rise to the gladiator games and their perverse excitement to counteract the enormous boredom that surrounded most of the citizen’s lives. If you don’t have to work, life soon looses any meaning when devoid of challenges as it also means being devoid of the satisfaction of a job well done. These are simplifications, of course, but it was a sick society in the time of Yeshua and His disciples. Yet there was a certain worldly façade of glory in Rome. And there was worship. There was great pomp and adulation of their emperors, of Caesar, who was regarded as a god and who was to be worshipped as well as strictly obeyed. A Roman’s life belonged to Caesar. But a believer’s life belongs to God and that meant seeing life from an entirely different prism than those who lived a Roman life.
This world around the believers who existed in Rome, and out of which many of them had come to the Lord, had no idea who God was. Paul says that God’s attributes are known through “His invisible attributes.” Perhaps that’s where the idea of a god comes from in the first place in men’s minds, it’s a desire for what God represents. Their idea of a god was the emperor. Or the gods they had inherited from the Greeks to which they gave Roman names. Everyone worships something or someone. We were created to worship. Even if it’s the limits of our own human minds we exalt and look to for answers, for reasons, for help and hope, to provide stability and provision. It is in glorifying God and giving Him thanks that puts us right with Him, the only true God. Otherwise, we exchange the truth for a lie — worshipping created beings or things, giving them place in our lives that only God has a right to or is equal to. It is putting our trust in what is false and cannot satisfy either the need or the desire.
Without the praise and thanksgiving to God, without the awareness of Him as worthy of our thanks and praise, Paul says, people become futile in their thinking. Unless we see Him properly for Who He is, we will not give Him the honor due Him, nor be aware of His abundant provisions in our lives. Our hearts will not be affected or touched by Him. It is not by our outward persona that God judges or assesses us since “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Sam 16:7). When He sees a heart of thanksgiving and praise for Himself, it is because we are one with Him. We are in agreement with Who He is in spirit and in truth, and “He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6).
Paul further says that if we are not giving God His rightful place in our hearts and lives, we are “undiscerning” and we cannot “see” properly; we don’t perceive things or life as it really is and we become foolish. Our thinking is of the darkness which never praises God, nor the light that He is. Solomon’s exhortation fits right in here: “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Prov 3:6). To acknowledge can mean to recognize, accept, acquiesce, or respond to. If we leave Him out of our plans, purposes and actions, we put ourselves outside of His guidance and wisdom, and we are left to our own understanding which in comparison to the wisdom of God is foolishness. (Please see 1 Cor 3:19).
Discernment, on the other hand, is giving God His due praise and glory and thanking Him for all things in your life. Thanksgiving is a life style as is praising God. You become a person of praise even if you’re not a singer but you’re a person who’s aware of the glory of God all around you. Walking my dog early in the morning, as I ducked under a tree branch, a droplet of dew still clinging to a leaf caught the early morning sunlight in such tiny shower of exquisite beauty that it brought a spontaneous overflow of tears and praise to God for His glory in His creation. I thanked Him for this moment, for eyes to see it, and an awareness of His presence all around me. I am so grateful to be His. How much joy is missed by those who don’t discern God being with them. Imagine how much God wishes to share Himself with them even more. That’s why we need to tell people of His goodness, to satisfy the great heart of our God for more of His children to receive His love and to see His beauty. His greatest pleasure, Jonathan Edwards said, is when we are enjoying Him. Ponder that. It’s worth getting a hold of.
Paul says that if we are not cognizant or aware of the glory of God we will exchange His glory for that of created beings, even idols created by our own hands; mere mortal images. Anything other than God that takes the place that He alone should occupy robs us. One of the reasons Yeshua said, “You cannot worship God and mammon” (Matt 6:24 NKJV) is because mammon is about money determining value in our lives and dictating our decisions. But what we value should be according to what God values and He should be the one not dictating but leading us and guiding us into the ways of wisdom and blessings. Our decisions should be based on what He’s saying to us and where He’s leading us, not on whether we can afford it or not. Where God guides, He will provide, it has often been said. I’ve found it to be true. Giving Him praise and thanksgiving will open your eyes to His provision and to the paths that were right before you but you didn’t see them until you began to acknowledge Him in your ways.
We need a total thinking adjustment in this regard. In a lot of regards actually. If God provided for Yeshua when He walked the earth and He provided for the early believers in many supernatural ways, if He “is the same yesterday today and forever” (Heb 13:8), why would He not provide for us today? The world is having an economic crunch right now. We may become fearful when we are lacking in funds, when money is short. When Yeshua had 3000 hungry men and their families in front of Him, do you think He worried about how to feed them? I think He was rather excited about what Abba was going to do. It still blows our minds (or should) that a little boy’s lunch fed all those people. I wonder what his mother who packed his lunch that day thought when he told her.
We never know when we do something as simple as packing lunch for our kid what miracles God might do that day. OK, not feed the whole school lunch room perhaps, but who knows. The point is, to be expectant of God’s glory being manifested in our everyday life when we give Him praise and thanksgiving. Give Him thanks ahead for whatever is ahead! If it’s from Him, it’s gotta be good. It may be that our preoccupation with His glory and goodness, with giving thought to where His goodness has already kept us, will draw the angels to do what’s needed in our lives. Angels are drawn to worship. They come to where worship of the Lord is. They love to be in the presence of worship, I’m told. So it stands to reason that our praise will cause God to release them to minister to us, “for He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11). How wonderful He is! We have no idea how involved God is in our lives, protecting us, encouraging us, providing for us, making a way for us, destining us for great things. All we need to do is praise Him for His wonderful ways and for Who He is and He will increase our revelation of Himself and give us greater understanding of all that we have “in Him.” He can transform our lives from mundane to marvelous, from fruitless to fruitfull by opening up our awareness of Him.
Recently as we were singing “Saturate our hearts O Lord, pour out your glory” in a Sunday morning service, the Lord gave me this word: “You ask for rain and to be saturated with My glory. The clouds sit just above you, ready to pour out upon you. These are clouds filled with revelation, of intimate knowledge of Me and My ways. I desire to cover you, to fill you, to saturate you fully with the knowledge of Me in Spirit and in truth. Come, My children, and stand under the clouds of revelation and wait upon Me with open hearts and I will fill them. As often as you come, I will come to you and open up new understanding of Me and of My ways. I wish to share My heart and My own thoughts with My people and to give you insight into what is taking place in this day in which you live. Close the door to distractions and busyness come and stand under the cloud of revelation and I will come and fill you.”
I have found an increase in revelation recently. I adjure you to come to Him expecting Him to reveal Himself to you and to open His word to you in ways you’ve not known before. If you come, He will fill you. You may have to keep coming until you begin to hear from Him what He wants to tell you, but I assure you, He wants to share Himself with you more than you want to hear from Him. Give Him thanks for He will show you as you rest in Him. Don’t strive for revelation. It will come by simple faith and confidence in His love for you and in the knowledge that He cherishes you yes, even you, even me and wants to share Himself with you.
We receive all that we do from God by faith, by trusting in Him and His glorious abundant loving faithfulness to us. However, thank God, He gives impartially and feeds us all. He brings rain to the faithful and the unbelieving alike or no one would live because we don’t start out life being faithful or believing. Thank God, He doesn’t leave us that way. However, He does give us free will. We choose to give praise to God and honor Him as Lord, and to be thankful to Him.
But there are voices today that claim to be wise, as Paul said, but are arrogant voices that mock godliness. God has told us to stay away from such folks: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Ps. 1:1). To scoff is to mock, jeer, ridicule, deride, snicker at, laugh at, dismiss, belittle, discount or knock. Such is often what a godly person receives when they take a stand for God or godliness. There’s no blessing in staying in the presence of such a person. Do not tolerate it, even if it masquerades as humorous. It’s not funny to God or His angels. Nor is it funny to someone who knows God’s glory. Did you know that the word dignity is part of the definition of glory? God has such dignity. Even when Yeshua was beaten and bloody, in emotional and physical pain beyond what we can imagine, He still exhibited dignity! I hate that He suffered, thought I’m grateful for what it bought me. Yet I love His dignity even at the end. It humbles me.
Since Yeshua lives within us, God’s people should walk in that same dignity, no matter what takes place in our lives. Part of the light we are to exhibit to the darkness is poise, a confident dignity that trusts God regardless of what it looks like ‘on the ground’ because He’s watching over us and directing our ways from heaven. As we give praise and honor to God and acknowledge His glory, majesty, dignity and holiness, we become what we see in Him. He allows our revelation of Him to increase and as we see Him we are changed to be more and more conformed to His image. Paul Keith Davis, one of Sid’s guests, talked about becoming infused with the character of God Himself! Oh, that puts an ache inside that only God can fill. Oh, that we would be people of God’s character. I believe that even as those words have been spoken prophetically through Brother Davis, that God will release it to His end time people. The light will shine in the darkness and we will say of one another, “the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Is 60:1). HalleluYah!
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Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.