Tag Archives: Glory of God

Who is first?

Larry Crabb Capture“As we live our lives, we will either put ourselves first or we will live for God.  And when problems arise, the difference between those two approaches will become especially visible. Either we will devote all our energies to overcoming our difficulties so that we can enjoy life again, or we will be more concerned to trust God in the midst of our problems so that we can better reflect His glory and serve His purposes. ~ Larry Crabb

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Glory of God, Religion and Spirituality, Trusting God

After All (Holy) by David Crowder

A simple worship song with a profound message. God is so much more than we can begin to comprehend…

If the video doesn’t play click here.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under David Crowder, Glory of God, God, Love of God, Music Video, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Wonder, Worship

Keep Wonder in Your Worship

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Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth…Don’t let your worship decline to the performance of mere duty…Don’t let the scenery and poetry and music of your relationship with God shrivel up and die. You have capacities for joy that you can scarcely imagine. They were made for the enjoyment of God. He can awaken them no matter how long they have lain asleep. Pray for His quickening power. Open your eyes to his glory. It is all around you: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 ESV).

~ Excerpted from Desiring God  by John Piper

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, God, Joy, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Wonder, Worship

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

Jesus had no problem drawing large crowds of people, as long as He was feeding them or healing them or meeting some other need in their lives.

But when He taught about the high price of considering everything and everyone a distant second compared to following after Him, the crowds thinned rather quickly.

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

Pursuing-God

In his book Jesus the King (formerly titled King’s Cross) Timothy Keller writes:

You’re glorifying something when you find it beautiful for what it is in itself. Its beauty compels you to adore it, to have your imagination captured by it.

To glorify others means to unconditionally serve them, not because we’re getting anything out of it, just because of our love and appreciation for who they truly are.

This is what we see modeled in the relationship of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. They exist to delight in and revolve around and serve one another.

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

I’m not suggesting that it is wrong to ask God’s favor or assistance. Scripture tells us to draw close to the throne of grace so that we might receive mercy and grace as we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

But if seeking God for His help becomes the primary and dominant reason for pursuing Him, something is terribly wrong. God is beauty and majesty and glory and splendor and all the wonderful qualities that capture the deepest longings of our heart.

To truly glorify God is to pursue Him simply for who He is!

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

Countless Wonders by Chris Tomlin

Declaring the glory of God!

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~ From the CD Burning Lights by Chris Tomlin

If the video doesn’t play go here.

Note: The maker of the video got one word wrong – “of” instead of “all” – but this is by far the best video of the song I’ve seen so far. Hope it touched your heart as much as it did mine!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Divine presence, Glory of God, God, Inspiration, Jesus, Love of God, Music Video, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Worship

Reflecting God’s glory wherever you are

UnfashionableMartin Luther was once approached by a man who enthusiastically announced that he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting desperately to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?” as if to say, should he become a minister or perhaps a traveling evangelist?

Luther asked him, “What is your work now?”

“I’m a shoemaker.”

Much to the cobbler’s surprise, Luther replied, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”

In becoming Christians we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have. Nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its spiritual value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise whatever our calling is with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards – and with renewed commitment to performing our calling with greater excellence and higher objectives.

~ Excerpted from Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~ Colossians 3:17 (The Message)

  • Interacting with our family
  • Waiting in the check-out line
  • Phone conversations
  • How hard we work when no one is watching
  • The way we carry on at sporting events
  • It’s how we ___________ (fill in the blank)

It’s not so much what we do that brings glory to God as it is the manner in which we do it.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, influence with the world, Motivation, Religion and Spirituality, Work

Enough Already God

A piece of art, in any form, is crafted and put on display to reflect the artist’s creativity and skill; to reflect a virtue or beauty envisioned by the artist. According to the Apostle Paul, we are God’s piece of art.

poiema-logo

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

The word for “workmanship” in the Greek is poiema and can be translated: achievement, work of art, masterpiece. The more passionate an artist is about a particular piece of art the more they will labor to reshape it and mold it giving it their utmost attention.

C.S. Lewis put it this way…

We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life — the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child — he will take endless trouble — and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient [alive and conscious of its feelings]. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
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 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Most of the time I really do want to be shaped and molded according to God’s intended design. I know that sin has marred and twisted not only my true identity in Christ but also my capacity to reflect the glory of God. But when that process gets uncomfortable or downright painful my heart cries, “Enough already God!”

But God’s love for us will not allow Him to stop working to reshape us into the person He made us to be. And to balk at His work in us is to want less of His love.

Grant us grace God that we might give ourselves wholeheartedly to the work of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into your poiema!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, CS Lewis, Discipleship, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, Love of God, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

Happy New Year – New Adventures Await!

New-Adventures-Await

“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”

“I should think so – in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner.”

~ J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit

You’re casting off from a familiar shore, into uncharted waters. It’s scary and overwhelming. You’re tempted to ask: what if I just can’t handle this? You can handle it. You plus God equals life gets handled. The real question is: will I take advantage of this chance to remake myself, will I discover more of the person God made me to be, and will I have the courage to set out on the amazing adventures God has for me? ~ Unka Glen

It’s a new year full of unchartered adventures! As we experience all that comes with it, may we come to be more fully alive in ways that delight God and reveal His glory to those sharing the journey!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adventure, Christianity, Courage, Glory of God, God, New Years, Religion and Spirituality

God’s Glory and Grandma’s Traditions

He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. ~ 2 Kings 18:4

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The bronze snake had at one time been an instrument of transformation. It healed people. Saved them from the consequences of their sin. But then the people turned it into an object of worship. And thereby ruined it and robbed it of its power.

This is the essence of traditionalism. It’s not simply holding onto Grandma’s preferences. It’s when we take things. Good things. Effective things. And we end up worshiping them instead of the God who used them for a season. And it can happen to anything.

Hymns. Or modern worship.

Live preaching. Or video preaching.

One campus. Or multiple campuses.

Sunday school. Or small groups.

None of these are bad things, but they’re also not the ultimate thing. And therefore, we shouldn’t treat them as such.

Otherwise, we run a dangerous risk. The very thing you hold up as a tool for transformation today can easily become an idol of tradition tomorrow.

And God has a way of smashing our idols. Or rendering them powerless.

Don’t get me wrong. We should never lose our appreciation or respect for the things God uses to reach people and transform their lives.

But we should also never allow them to steal God’s glory by becoming a greater object of our affections than God or the new ways He wants to work among us.

God’s glory is greater than Grandma’s traditions.

And our own as well.

~ By Steven Furtick

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Anything, no matter how good or Godly it might appear to be, becomes an idol – a false god – when we are more attached to it than we are to God!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, God, Priorities, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

He kicked my butt!

A few weeks ago I spent a week at a retreat center near Asheville, North Carolina. It was a School of Spiritual Direction with Dr. Larry Crabb.

The schedule was designed to include evening sessions but did allow for a three-hour gap in the afternoon. So on that first afternoon I located a map of trails and headed out.

The longest trail was just three miles long and promised a nice view from a higher elevation. My thought process went something like this:

“I’ve just lost 40 pounds and have been bike riding with my wife for nearly four months now. We’re up to 18 miles a ride and this past week I did a solo ride of 27 miles – my longest to date. It’s only a three-mile hike. No problem.”

To say that I misjudged the effect of elevation on a three-mile hike would be a gross understatement.

It kicked my butt!

About 2 1/2 hours later I dragged myself back to my room and quickly showered for supper. For three days my thigh muscles SCREAMED at me every time I moved.

The same thing happened spiritually with all that took place that week as our group of 31 people explored the nature of our journey with God.

I was captivated by God as the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit – existing in perfect, loving community. And I welcomed the invitation to journey further into the fellowship enjoyed by the Trinity.

But the price of admission is a humble and broken spirit. On several occasions the Holy Spirit brought me face-to-face with some of my “false gods” and sinful relational patterns. He kicked my butt – spiritually speaking!

That portion of the journey was brutally painful. And to be honest, I was ready to cut and run more than once.

But the corresponding freedom that came as a result of being embraced by what the Spirit was doing in me was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

The Holy Spirit didn’t confront me with my sin in order to beat me up or heap on guilt and shame. He did it – does it daily – so that I’ll come to the end of my own efforts and more fully rely on His work in me.

This is exactly what Paul describes in Romans 7 and 8. In chapter 7 Paul is totally frustrated with his struggle against the fleshly, sinful nature and wonders who can help him. Then in chapter 8 he’s celebrating the Spirit’s work in us.

5-6 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead-end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. ~ Romans 8 (The Message)

My relationship with God – Father, Son and Spirit – has been very different these last few weeks. And relating to family and friends has been very different as well – more open and healthy; more God-focused.

I believe I’m getting a taste of the real life Jesus came to make possible. And reflecting more of God’s relational glory in the process.

No offense intended, but I hope we all get our butts kicked today by the Holy Spirit!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Brokenness, Christianity, Discipleship, Divine presence, Fellowship, Glory of God, God, God the Father, Holy Spirit, Humility, influence with the world, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Joy, Love of God, Loving God, Loving others, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender, Trinity, Trusting God