Pray BIG Prayers – Glory

God does everything for His glory…

– John Piper

Living to the glory of God is something we see come up again and again in Scripture (1 Corinthians 10.31 for example). God’s master passion, His chief end, His #1 goal is to glorify Himself and glory in this glory. Is this stunning to you? Have you ever really understood this before, that everything God does, everything, is done precisely in the way that will glorify Himself the most?

Here’s where it gets interesting. This is stunning, shocking, scandalous some may say, because this means that God is for Himself before He is for you. John Piper writes that many are happy to be ‘God centred’ as long as they feel that God is for them first and foremost. Many are happy to live for God as long as they feel that He lives for them. Well, He doesn’t. His ultimate commitment is to Himself, not you (ibid.).

If you’re not sure this is a Biblical view, check these passages as an example;

 Isaiah 2.22, 48.9, 11, Ezekiel 36.22-23, 32, Ephesians 1.6, 12, 14, Isaiah 43.7. You can do so here

So, when we pray, are we truly praying for God to glorify Himself in our lives, or are we praying for God to glorify Himself by making our lives comfortable, successful, or prosperous?

Are we praying God’s-glory-focused prayers,

or our-glory-focused prayers?

When we pray, are we petitioning, interceding, lamenting, crying out, wrestling all in the truth and on the platform that God does everything for His own Name’s sake? (Jeremiah 14.7, Psalm 79.9, 25.11, 115.1).

Today then I would challenge you to pray that God is glorified in your life, not that your life is glorified to make God look good. Subtle difference in wording, but a profound difference in attitude.

Try this – Lord, whatever it looks like, glorify yourself through my life.

Use my life in whatever way you see fit: use my circumstances, my time, my talent, my treasure, for your name’s sake, not my own.

I don’t want to share your glory with you, act in my life so people see you, not me.

I’m ashamed and embarrassed by my former ways of glory-seeking, forgive me, and for the praise of your glorious grace, use me for your glory. 

God’s Glory or Our Own Glory?

This week we will pause our journey through Job and read five devotionals from ItIsWell.

The first is from our most recent guest speaker, Pastor Pilgrim Benham (@pilgrimbenham), Shoreline Church (@thisisshoreline).

Some songs have had the power to start revolutions. One of those songs is found in the Old Testament, sung by a group of women who had no clue what their melody would provoke.

Take a moment to read 1 Samuel 18:6-9. As they returned home from the great Philistine battle where David slew Goliath, Saul was receiving glory as the women paraded and praised his accomplishments; but David’s glory was greater. I’m sure kids began playing with slingshots, reenacting David’s amazing and unlikely victory. The people no longer had Saul as their ideal role model for a manly warrior–it was now David. This competition led Saul to his eventual demise.

As humans, we weren’t designed to receive glory but to extend God’s glory! Sadly, the apex result of the Fall is the desire for self-glory. When the serpent tempted Eve, it was with the notion that she and her husband were being kept from something glorious: (see Gen. 3:5). Indeed, when Adam and Eve observed that the fruit was able to make them wise, their restraint out of reverence for God’s command was overridden by their desire for self-glory, so they consumed the fruit.

The same temptation resides within us today. Though by grace through faith we have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and are new creations, we as Christ-followers still have remnants of our corrupt nature. Until we lay this sinful body into the earth, we will be plagued by the flesh and this desire to exalt ourselves above God will continue to haunt us.

Every day is a battle between self-glory and God’s glory. Like Saul, we seek our own fame and put ourselves on the throne, raging against anyone or anything that threatens our luxuries. We fail to truly understand that only the name of Christ is to be highly-esteemed. We forget that Jesus came and died humbly not to bolster the pride of life, but to put an end to it. We must confront our own vainglorious honor with the reality of the cross so we will fear, adore, and worship Christ alone.

May we lay our empires down and yield our lives to enjoy His grace and extend His glory alone!

Yes I Will

John Piper wrote this about worship,

“This is the final end of all existence: the worship of God.

God created the universe so that it would display the worth of his glory. And he created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it — with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.”

In Revelation 22.9 John receives the simple command, “Worship God!

Elsewhere in God’s Word to us we are told we are created for His glory (Isaiah 43.7). We are made in His image (Genesis 1.27), to display His glory, for His glory, to bring Him glory. Paul writing to the Corinthians says that whatever we do, we are to do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10.31).

So far, then, we can say it is in our DNA to worship God, it comes naturally, it’s the natural thing to do. 

But some days, in some experiences, in some seasons of life, do we really want to? It doesn’t feel like the natural thing to do, does it? This is where we need to be so careful; if we live our faith life based on feelings, when those feelings aren’t there, is our faith not there too?

Does God not still deserve the glory due Him?

Is our fundamental purpose as people not present because we don’t have a certain feeling?

Worship of God is natural to us,

but it is also a choice we need to make.

We are not robots; robots made to worship, worship-bots if you will, we are made with the wonderful gift of free will. 

So worship comes natural to us, worship is natural, but worship is also a choice. It’s an attitude, it’s a perspective, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a choice. 

Maybe you have heard a song with lyrics that communicate this truth beautifully well;

Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley

Yes I will, bless Your name

Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy

All my days, oh yes I will

And I choose to praise
To glorify, glorify
The Name of all names
That nothing can stand against

Even when life is difficult, God is working it out for you.

Even when we don’t particularly feel like worshiping God, we must still choose to praise Him.

Even when we don’t think we need to, we must give Him what is rightfully His, fulfil our most fundamental purpose. 

He is never late, always on time, with us all the time, good or bad. He is still there despite our perceived lack of feeling it and for this we can worship Him, glorify Him, trust Him.

See, worship comes naturally, but it is also a choice. When we take to heart the truth of the Word of God, when we put hope, faith, and trust in the name and work of Jesus, when we submit and commit to the Lord, worship becomes the natural choice in all situations. 

Take four minutes now and listen to this, as loud as your current surroundings allow…then have a great day, choosing to praise and glorify God!

Glory to Glory

Sometimes the progress in our Christian life, or our life in general, is not as quick as we would like it to be, is it. You know, maybe you start a new diet or fitness plan and after two days you look in the mirror and wonder why you don’t look like an Olympian. 

In our faith life, we are the same, aren’t we. We make a commitment, step out in faith, see that the claims of Christianity are true, but then it dawns on us that we are still the same person. There has been no miraculous instant whole-life change and that seems, to us, like it’s not happening.

Maybe you react in the same way to something you did before you believed.

Maybe you still feel the pull towards doing something or going somewhere you know you shouldn’t.

Maybe old habits still linger.

But you think ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to be now, I’m a Christian, I should be living like Jesus, or like wonderful Christian example Mr./Mrs. ___ ‘.

At this point we can become discouraged, downhearted, and maybe even deterred from walking this way. When this happens, we need to remind ourselves of the wonderful truths of the Word of God.

If God has started a work in you, it will unequivocally, absolutely, 100% be finished (Philippians 1.6). Being transformed from glory to glory comes from beholding the Lord, spending time with the Lord, meditating on the Word of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3.18). 

All I know is this
There’s nothing that You miss
If it’s not beautiful yet
It’s gonna be

When I can’t see beyond
A thousand things gone wrong
If it’s not finished yet
It’s gonna be

I believe all that You start You complete
From glory to glory

So, if things don’t feel like they’re moving on as quickly as you’d like, if you seem to have arrived at a place from where you see no progress, if you feel down and out, take a moment and behold the glory of the Lord, and rest easy in the fact that He always finishes what He starts, and He who began a good work in you will bring it completion, He is transforming you from glory to glory. 

What A Beautiful Name // Agnus Dei – Thursday Music

devotional imagesToday, one of the most powerful song arrangements I have heard in a long time, complete with God-glorifying, Jesus-honouring lyrics.

We begin with Hillsong’s ‘What a beautiful name’, 

You were the Word at the beginning

One with God the Lord Most High

Your hidden glory in creation

Now revealed in You our Christ

Straight away we see the eternity and Deity of Christ, Word at the beginning, One with God the Lord most high. Scripture is pouring through this song, John 1.1, 10.30 here, and in the first line we are affirming that Jesus was, and is, eternal, and was, and is, God. 

We then see the eternal Kingship of Jesus, 

What a beautiful name it is, what a beautiful name it is

The name of Jesus Christ, my King

What a beautiful name it is, nothing compares to this

What a beautiful name it is, the name of Jesus

References to Jesus as King include Matthew 6.13, 1 Timothy 6.15, Revelation 1.5, Revelation 17.14, and Revelation 19.11-16

So far, then, Jesus is eternal and the eternal King of Kings. As the song ramps up and the chills begin, we see that Jesus conquered death, “Death could not hold you“, as seen in Acts 2.24, 1 Corinthians 15.55, and Revelation 1.18.

Now we have Jesus as eternal, with God, as God, before the foundations of the world were laid, Jesus as eternal King of Kings, and Jesus having the power to defeat death, simply, 

What a powerful name it is, nothing can stand against

What a powerful name it is, the name of Jesus

Deuteronomy 11.25 and Proverbs 21.30 both share this thought; nothing can stand against our great God, against Jesus the Messiah, or against the Spirit of God moving.

Then today’s song pauses and begins to ramp up even more, it’s getting emotional, then, with a few beats of the drum we are worshiping with the entire host of heaven.

I am convinced beyond all doubt this is what heaven will be like, the constant worship of our Lord, our God, the King of Kings…loud, emotional, upwardly focused, people of all nations, languages, and cultures worshiping their hearts out, pouring out what is deserved by our great God, just as we see in Revelation 4 and 5, specifically 4.8, 4.11, 5.9-10, 5.12-14.

This is definitely one to listen to as loud as you can, perhaps you need headphones, especially from 4:00 onwards…

This wonderful medley of two songs shows us just how precious the name of Jesus is to those who believe (1 Peter 2.6-8), and then gives us a loud, chilling, and emotive preview of what heavenly worship will be like…enjoy, and take this feeling into your day, and every day!