Tag Archives: joy

Revelation Song- Devo 4

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Filled with wonder, 
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery

When was the last time you experienced something so awe-inspiring that it took your breath away? Did it have anything to do with Jesus? Did it have anything to do with the glory of God or with his perfect love for us? If not, what are you giving the honor to that you should be giving to God?

I am reading a book called “Desiring God- Meditations of a Christian Hedonist,” by John Piper. I don’t agree with everything he says but he does get this right: Most Christians are missing out on experiencing true joy that is found in Christ because we fail to worship Christ for who he is instead of just what he does for us or because we feel like enjoying God somehow lessens our worship of him. (That’s my 15 second summary of the 4 chapters I have read so far). So what do we find joy in? Our families, our material possessions, our friends? These are dangerously close to becoming idols if we allow ourselves to find more joy in them than we do God. These are good things, mind you and we should find a kind of  joy in these things because they are given to us by God but we need to have ultimate joy in Christ and if we are not, then we are missing a huge part of what it means to be in Christ! I admit that though I have at times experienced this kind of unadulterated joy in Christ that I sometimes lose my way and allow myself to find joy in other things alone. This is sin! It is idolatry! It is finding more joy in created things than in the Creator. I am, at times, an idolator. How about you?

There is no doubt that many of the things we believe involves an element of mystery. For example, how is Christ fully God and fully human at the same time? How is God 3 distinct persons yet inseparable? I won’t even pretend to have answers to these questions. It is true that we have to rely upon faith for some of our beliefs. But what marvelous mysteries they are! Even though we don’t understand them, we can delight in them. We can find joy and even comfort in that God is bigger and more complex than what our limited brains can handle. Only God can fully understand God. We can try to look at the evidences of our interactions with him and of his nature in the Bible. We can think about God until we are all thunk out but we will never fully understand God this side of heaven. That’s ok. There are lots of things we don’t fully understand but accept as fact like gravity, quantum physics, pregnancy, black holes, the human brain, etc. Why is it that people have such a hard time accepting things about God that we don’t fully understand?

I encourage you to start reading some of the Psalms this week (I got that from Piper, too). He encourages reading the Psalms as a way of getting our brain trained to praise God and to enjoy him in a fuller sense. I would love to hear some of your thoughts after you read a couple. Please feel free to comment below on what Psalm you read and your thoughts on it.

The End.

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Revelation Song- Devo 3

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Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King,

We already looked at the first verse and chorus of this song in Revelation Song- Devo and in Devo 2. In them we discussed a lot of heavy stuff found in the book of Revelation. This one should be a little lighter because the references in the rest of the song aren’t directly related to Revelation. In fact the first part is from another vision of the end times found in the book of Ezekiel.

Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:25-28)

Can you imagine seeing the Lord with your own eyes and then having the responsibility to describe it for posterity? What an impossible task! And yet that is exactly what Ezekiel tries to do. Think about the dreariness of  a dark, rainy day and the beauty and brightness of a rainbow in the midst of the storm. This is how Ezekiel explains the sight of God. It is so terrifying, amazing, awe-inspiring, (insert your own word here) that he literally can not bear the sight and falls on his face. What a glorious sight that must have been to see God, himself!

And speaking of rainbows and stuff in the sky, what does “flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder” refer to. We have all witnessed the power of a thunderstorm. They can be magnificent and terrifying all at once. And so it is with God. I can’t even to imagine what it will be like the day I get to view him with my own eyes! The splendor, the glory, the holiness and the sheer terror of it all! I imagine it will be too much for me to bear and me hiding my eyes from the magnitude of it all like Ezekiel. The power of God is also often described with thunder and lightening. It is a synonymous with his presence, power and glory. For example when God met Moses on the top of Sinai, there was thunder and lightening covering the mountain (Exodus 19:16; 20:18). I don’t know about you but I tend to think about God’s presence as calming and reassuring, not powerful and scary. Yet, think about what it would be like to meet someone here on earth that you admire. You would probably be nervous at the very least and maybe even scared. Now, imagine your imperfect, guilty, sinful self in front of a powerful, perfect, almighty judge. Does it make your knees knock? It should. It’s called having fear of the Lord. It’s knowing God has the power to zap you to Hell if he wanted but he chooses to pardon you. It’s a fear that does not come from being afraid, it’s a kind of respect that comes from acknowledging the holiness of God.

If God truly is as magnificent as the writer of Revelation describes, it is no wonder that we today sing, “Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be to you  the only Wise King!” I wish we spent more time focusing on the glory of God instead of our own lives. How much more fulfilled would our lives be we if viewed our existence through God-colored glasses that showed us his pure glory? Instead I find myself taking off the glasses and getting distracted by the little things of life. These little things steal the joy I should be finding in Christ. I am reading a book by John Piper called “Desiring God.” In it he describes man’s purpose as this, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” He is right on! We were created to glorify God by enjoying God. I love what The Message says of 1 Chronicles 16:23-27:

Sing to God, everyone and everything!
Get out his salvation news every day!
Publish his glory among the godless nations,
his wonders to all races and religions.
And why? Because God is great—well worth praising!
No god or goddess comes close in honor.
All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense,
but God made the cosmos!
Splendor and majesty flow out of him,
strength and joy fill his place.

Read this twice- once with joy and exuberance, and once with no feeling. Which do you think is the emotion meant to be behind it? One of joy or no emotion at all? Of course, it is meant to be joyful! This doesn’t mean we have to be happy all the time. Joy is something deeper that goes beyond just mere feeling. It is a deep state of being. It is having on those God-colored glasses and viewing life how he sees it instead of how we see it. It is enjoying God for who he is and not just what he has done for us. It is choosing to praise God regardless of the junk of life because, “God is great– well worth praising!” I was thinking about it tonight as I was driving: Even if God didn’t save us he would still be worthy of praise, even if God didn’t love us he would still be worthy of praise. Why? Because he is Good, Holy, Perfect, Awesome, Power… the list goes on and on. He is all of these things despite the stuff he does for us. Of course that stuff he does is pretty awesome and deserving of praise also. How much more should we long to joyfully praise God because of our salvation! And it shouldn’t be just reserved for Sunday mornings either! We can praise God through serving others, through sharing our salvation stories, through loving others, basically anything we do to reflect his glory is a way of praising God. We miss out so much in our relationship with Christ because we fail to long for the joy we can experience in Him. Instead we find joy in things that don’t last… the latest singers, clothes, friends, books, food, music, etc. We trade ultimate joy for shadows of joy. We trade God for idols.

What do you find joy in? How do you express that joy? When you find a new pair of shoes that you just love, you show them off and tell others about them. When was the last time you got that excited about God? When was the last time you were so joyful about him that you just had to share him with someone else? Take time to explore the beauty of God, not because of what he has done for us, but because of who he is! Take time to rediscover God! Read Psalm 19 and reflect on the glory of God!

Psalm 19

God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.

Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

 God makes a huge dome
for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.

That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.

The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.

God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.

There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

The End.