What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Praising God for His Glory

When I think about praising God, I think about His glory. I want to be like the saints in heaven as they are singing in Revelation 1:6 “to Him be the glory and the power and the majesty and the dominion throughout the ages and forever and ever. Amen (so be it).” [Amplified Version] But what is the glory?
Glory has a lot of different meanings. The first thing that comes to my mind is beauty as in a glorious countenance. God is the ultimate in beauty. He shines and is like gems of every color of the rainbow (Revelation 4). Other words that describe glory are greatness and honor. Eminence, majesty, prestige, and splendor are also words used to try and convey the meaning of glory.
Our words of praise are too meek and mild for describing what God is really like. Like David and the other writers of the Psalms, the best we can do is compare God’s glory to things we do know about. Psalm 19:1 compares God’s glory to the heavens (“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”) Think of a beautiful summer’s evening sky with the clouds reflecting the sun’s rays turning the sky various shades of purples and pinks and oranges. That’s glorious, but God is even more glorious. In Psalm 57:11 it again compares God’s glory to the heavens: “Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth.” His glory is greater than all the heavens and everything in the earth. No matter how glorious a sunset we might ever see, God’s glory is greater still.
I try to picture what God’s glory is like while I’m praising Him. That is very difficult to do but if I keep in mind that it’s greater than the most beautiful sunset or the most beautiful landscape, I get to a place of awe and that’s what praise is all about. I’m in awe of God’s greatness, of His splendor and of His majesty. And telling Him I’m in awe of Him is what worship and praise is all about. Acknowledging His glory is one way to do that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Praising God for His Holiness

We are commanded to give praise and thanksgiving to God. There are many places throughout the Scriptures where we are commanded to do so. Many times King David, in his Psalms, tells us to proclaim God’s greatness. One such place is found in Psalm 70:4 which says, “Let those on the hunt for You sing and celebrate. Let all who love Your saving way say over and over, ‘God is mighty!’” (The Message) We who are followers of God are to say over and over and in many different ways just how great the Lord is.
So I focus a part of my daily time with God, usually after reading the Bible, on praising and worshiping and giving thanks to God. I try to spend about 10 minutes just acknowledging God for who He is and in adoration of His awesomeness. My words are meager and no matter what words I use, I find that I’m often at a loss for the words that truly describe how great God is. I try every day anyway.
Sometimes I find myself repeating certain phrases, especially phrases I’ve read in Scripture of others giving praise to God. In my recent study of Revelation, there are several places where it talks about God being holy, holy, holy. I asked myself why it repeated the word three times. I found that when something is repeated in the Bible it usually means we should take note. In this case my research suggested that repeating something three times indicates perfection. So, God is perfectly holy. But what does holy mean?
Holy means something is derived from a divine power. It means something is blessed, pure, perfect, sacred, pious, moral and upright. God is all those things and so much more. He is the definition of holy. When we say, “Holy, holy, holy God” we are saying that He is perfect and moral and upright in every conceivable way. He is the epitome of holiness and perfection. We are declaring that God is perfect and upright and does everything with total perfection.
Explaining holiness is a tough act. Describing what holiness is is like trying to describe God. In many ways it is impossible for us mere humans to do it. But, we can say the words and proclaim His holiness, trying to wrap our heads around what it means. Doing this is a way of praising God. It’s just one word that describes God’s attributes. He is truly holy, holy, holy – perfectly pure and without blemish or fault. He is God. He is holy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hope in the Context of Scripture

I think hope is an emotion I’m not very good at recognizing or feeling in my life. So I decided to do a study of Scripture on what hope is. There were 146 places where the word “hope” is used in the Bible. Many of them were in the Psalms. A few are listed below.
A common theme is from where the Psalmist got his hope. It seems like hope is found in the Lord. So when I think I need hope, I need to focus on Him. I like what Psalm 42:5 says. “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” It’s the help I get from God that gives me the hope I need to get through any circumstance. So when I am in need of hope, I need to look to God and remember the help He’s given me in the past.
I still struggle with being hopeful, but God assures me that I can be hopeful when I focus on Him. So, this week I’m going to try to focus on the hope I have in Him for a few moments every day. To do that I’m going to look for hope in the Scriptures I read each morning. When I see how God has helped other people, like the people who wrote the Psalms, I’m able to believe that He will also help me.
Psalm 9:18 “For the needy will not always be forgotten, Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever”
Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.”
Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,”
Psalm 33:22 “Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.”
Psalm 38:15 “For I hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.”
Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.”
Psalm 42:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.”
Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.”

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fruits of the Spirit as Positive Emotions

I’ve been writing about positive emotions, trying to identify them and figure out what they mean to me. One suggestion given to me was to look at the Fruits of the Spirit as possible positive emotions. Galatians 5:22 – 23 says,  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In the last few weeks, I’ve written about love, joy and peace but I’m not sure the other things in this list are emotions. What do you think?
They seem more like actions to me. Maybe they are attitudes to have, but not really emotions to experience. I easily get confused as to what is an emotion. Just this week I tried to identify laziness as an emotion and was told it’s a judgment, an evaluation and not an emotion. So can patience be an emotion? I know people say, “I feel patient” but is it really a feeling or is it a decision to be patient. I think it’s a decision. So, I’m not going to write about it as an emotion.
The other fruits of the spirit – kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – don’t seem like emotions to me either. I guess I will need to do some more praying about these things. If you have any thoughts on whether these are emotions or not, feel free to write a comment.
And, have a wonderful 4th of July.