Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“As grieved and mourning, yet we are always rejoicing; as poor ourselves, yet bestowing riches on many; to having nothing; and yet in reality possessing all things.”
II Corinthians 6: 10, Amplified Bible
“I will be still, my bruised heart faintly murmured,
As over me rolled a crushing load of woe;
Then cry, the call, even the low moan was stifled;
I pressed my lips; I barred the tear drop’s flow.
I will be still, although I cannot see it,
The love that bares a soul and fans pain’s fire;
That takes away the last sweet drip of solace;
Breaks the lone harp string, hides the precious lyre.
But God is love, so I will hide me, hide me –
We’ll doubt not, soul, we will be very still;
We’ll wait till after whole, when He shall lift us –
Yes, after while, when it shall be His will.
And I did listen to my heart’s brave promise,
And I did quiver, struggling to be still;
And I did lift my tearless eyes to Heaven,
Repeating ever, ‘Yea, Christ, have Thy will.’
But soon my heart upspake from ‘neath our burden,
Reproved my tight-drawn lips, my visage sad;
‘We can do more than this, O Soul,’ it whispered.
‘We can be more than still, we can be glad!’
And now my heart and I are sweetly singing –
Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;
Drinking abundant waters in the desert;
Crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle’s wings.”
“But those who wait for the Lord who expect: look for, and hope in Him shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up close to God as eagles mount up to the sun; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired” (Isaiah 40: 31, Amplified Bible).
Today’s Study Text:
“When Jesus received the message, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death; but on the contrary it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through it and by it.” (John 11: 4, Amplified Bible).
“The Fragrance of His Presence” Part 13
“For The Glory of God ”
“The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.”
C. S. Lewis
What does it mean to me to glorify the name of God?
How is God glorified upon this earth?
“The cross that Jesus tells us to carry is the one that we willingly take up ourselves – the cross of self-denial in order that we might live for the glory of the Father.”
“He humbled Himself for us; let us glorify Him.”
Augustine of Hippo
There can be no question as we read the words penned by the Apostle John that Jesus’ love for the family in Bethany was a deep and abiding love. It might even make us think that because of the shared affection, Jesus would have immediately responded when a messenger, sent by Mary and Martha, arrived with the devastating news – “the dear one who You love Jesus, is very ill.”
Think of the times that you have been informed that someone you cared for was ill. What did you do? I’ll never forget a hot Arizona night when I got a call from my sister. My niece Aimee, Sher’s oldest girl, had been injured in a jet-ski accident on one of the local lakes. I couldn’t grab my purse and car keys fast enough to get down to the Emergency Room. Hearing about her condition wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to see with my own eyes exactly how Aimee was doing.
I just have a feeling that all those around Jesus, including His disciples, expected that if anyone would receive preferential treatment, it would be Bethany’s beloved family. J.R. Macduff addresses this very thought by asking this question: “When Jesus had heard that Lazarus was sick – what did He do?” Take off immediately on the closest donkey and race toward Bethany? Or as Macduff continues, did Jesus “fly on wings of love to the succor of his loved friend; hurried in eager haste by the shortest route from Bethabara?” To think this would be the response from Jesus at this critical moment would be incorrect.
Instead we find that upon receiving the news, Jesus proceeded to give a mini-sermon regarding Lazarus’ illness and the reason for it. According to Matthew Henry, Jesus gives two “prognostications” as to the event and issue of the sickness. In other words, Jesus was predicting Lazarus’ prognosis. Thank you, Dr. Jesus – our heavenly healer.
And exactly what did Jesus foretell? Here are the two important facts laid out by Jesus:
Fact #1:The illness was not going to result in death. In Jesus own words: “This sickness is not to end in death.”
Fact #2:The illness had a single focus or reason. In Jesus own words: “It is to bring honor and to promote glory to God.”
Indeed Lazarus died, but not an eternal death. As Henry notes, “the grave was not (Lazarus) long home, his house of eternity.” Further, as Henry continues, “the afflictions of God’s children are designed for the glory of God, that He may have opportunity of showing them favour; for the sweetest mercies, and the most affecting, are those which are (brought about) by trouble…they are all for the glory of God, this sickness, this loss, or this disappointment…if God is to be glorified, we ought to be satisfied.”
I will tell you, when I began to awaken after the car accident Jim and I were in and see tubes coming from every place on my body, including a tube down my throat, connected to a machine which helped me breathe, I didn’t have a thought that directed me toward the potential that God could be glorified through such a disastrous mess. But looking back over the years, especially the past ten spent here in Transformation Garden, I recognize that over and over when my strength has ebbed to the lowest point, my Father gave me just what heavenly power is needed each day so I am able to pray and to write the devotionals. Indeed, God had a plan so special for my life and Jim’s that two severely disabled people were just what He needed to bring glory to Him. And if He can help us accomplish the tasks each day that He has placed in our hands, then I know for certain that I am not off base telling you He will do the same for you. I know that there was no way I could have understood the debilitation caused by constant pain or overwhelming physical weakness had I not walked the path which God has laid out for me. And yes, while at times I might wish to myself that this event had not happened, when someone writes me and says, “I knew you would understand what I’m going through because of all that has occurred in your life,” I become quietly grateful for the honor to bring glory to my Father in some small way.
Maybe you are in a place in your life where you simply can’t understand the calamities which have struck you or your family. As I shared with all of you this week, we have several special prayer needs including 23-year-old Katrina with a large tumor in her colon and now multiple cancerous lesions in her liver. And yet, in her note to all of us, this young woman’s desire is to bring glory to her heavenly Father. As she said, “That I, my family, and others close to me will be able to grow deeper in our faith and walk with Jesus. I think it is amazing that God takes incredibly difficult situations and brings them for His glory.” Already, I’ve had note after note stating that Katrina has not only been a witness to the glory of God, lives are being changed for eternity because of her witness.
The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody wrote in his book Secret Power, penned in 1881, “Let it be God’s glory and not our own that we seek, and when we get to that point, how speedily the Lord will bless us for good.”
If the longing of your heart is to live each day bringing glory to your Father’s name, get ready – your Father has a surprise waiting for you as He opens your life, like an ever-increasing fountain of blessings, in the lives of everyone you touch. For as author Thomas Watson promises the “glory of God is a silver thread which will run through all (your) actions.”
“Let us therefore not seek our own, but that which pleases the Lord and is helpful to the promotion of His glory.”
John Calvin, 1550
“Lord, by Thy Word my rule,
In it may I rejoice;
Thy glory be my aim,
Thy holy will my choice.
Thy promises, my hope;
Thy providence my guard;
Thine arm my strong support
Thyself my great reward.”
Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-1885
“I ask You neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that You may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death for Your glory…You alone know what is expedient for me; You are the sovereign Master, do with me according to Your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to Yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow You, and bad to offend You. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to Me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of Your providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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