Archive for April, 2011

Suffering for the Glory of the Church

Daily God Walk for Saturday, April 30, 2010

 This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal… Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.       – 2 Timothy 2:8-10

There are some very important thoughts presented in this passage. The first is Paul’s sense of ownership of the gospel he preached. The second is the suffering he willingly endured for the church. The third is the purpose for which he suffered; the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Paul had a right to call his message, “My Gospel” because of his unique calling. He experienced a dramatic conversion while on his way to persecute believers in Jesus and from that time his life took a radical turn in a direction he could never have predicted.

He gained a remarkable insight into the grace which God was extending to the Gentiles. Nearly his entire ministry was to the people of the Gentile world. He planted churches in nearly every major city in Asia Minor. Indeed, to those who heard of Jesus, the Christ, through the ministry of this great man of God, he was the gospel personified.

Paul was not just a fair weather preacher. He endured the most trying circumstances to bring the gospel to the Gentile world. In one place he lists his trials; “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked…” (2 Corinthians 11:25) and the list goes on. A lot of the New Testament which he wrote was written while in chains.

Why did Paul endure all of these hardships and after enduring continue to press on preaching the gospel? Because he knew that he was opening the door to eternal glory for those who would hear his message and believe in Jesus the Christ.

In one place Paul wrote, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” That is a challenge which we must consider if we are to win our world to Christ. We must be willing to endure hardship and to even suffer persecution and chains to bring this message of the hope of eternal glory to others.

Prayer: Lord, I need your strength and your grace to take the gospel to those who need to know your eternal glory. Amen.

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Mark’s Record of His Last Message

Daily God Walk for Friday, April 29, 2010


 Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.                 – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 Serving in the kingdom of God doesn’t always feel glorious. There have been many days over the past 40+ years of being in the ministry that I questioned my calling, and yes, I even questioned God at times.

There was a time many years ago that everything in my life was falling apart. I had lost my business, I was in a foreign country (Florida!), I was broke, and the pastor I served with had just told me he was leaving and I would be without a job. And it was even worse than that, but I won’t go into the details.

I was so discouraged and desperate that one afternoon I was praying and having a pity party. I remember saying something like, “Thanks a lot God. Every major decision I have made in my adult life was made from the perspective of how it would affect the kingdom. Now, here I am; broke, nothing to show for my years of service. Thanks a lot God!”

Don’t judge me because if you have been serving God for any length of time you know how I felt.

After the pity party I began to regain my senses and realized that this was just a season and it would soon pass. And pass it did. In just a few days God brought into my life the most wonderful gift I could ever have imagined.

That is why Paul was saying that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs all of our troubles. We may not all have God give us a glorious gift in the midst of our most severe trial, but one thing is for sure: The eternal glory he has prepared for us far outweighs any trial we go through.

 Prayer: God, life isn’t always easy, and sometimes I even question you, but I have learned that you are preparing for me a glorious eternal reward and I thank you for that. Amen.

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The Hope of Glory

Daily God Walk for Thursday, April 28, 2010

 God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  – Colossians 1:27

 All of creation declares the glory of God. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” With such a voice as creation itself declaring the glory of God men are without excuse.

Paul writes in Romans, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Many have closed the eyes of their heart so that they cannot see to understand the great mystery of Christ and the believers. They still continue to work a finding a way outside of Christ and their hearts continue to be darkened having no glory of God in them. But to those who will listen and open their eyes God is revealing a most marvelous mystery.

This glorious mystery is simply this: Christ in you. Throughout the ages God has chosen times and places to reveal his glory. He was in the cloud that led Israel in the desert; he was in the Tabernacle in the wilderness; he was in the Temple, but all of those places were just temporary dwellings for him. In this age of grace he has made his permanent dwelling place to be the hearts of men.

In our verse for today is the phrase, “the hope of glory.” As I read that I can see at least two ways it can be read. First, and this is the most common, is that Christ in us is our hope for glory. But the second gives a little different perspective. Could it be that the hope of glory is Christ in us? What I mean by that is could this passage mean that the hope God has for mankind is that Christ will dwell in man? That seems to make since to me.

The hope of glory [God] is that all of mankind will be born into his family and that Christ will dwell in them.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to realize that you have in mankind is that Christ will dwell in us. In Jesus name, amen.

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The Glorified Christ

Daily God Walk for Sunday, April 24, 2010

 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.   – Luke 9:29-31

 Often when God was about to reveal something of himself he would appear in a glorious presence. In this case, as Jesus was praying, and his disciples were presumably asleep, he was transformed. Mark wrote, “His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus” (Mark 9:3-4).

Many scholars feel that this event is significant of the role Christ was to play in fulfilling both the law and the prophets. Moses, of course, represented the law and Elijah the prophets. The righteousness of God is mirrored in the law and the wisdom of God is reflected in the prophets.

The law showed man what God intended him to be and the prophets warned the people when they were living in disobedience.

When the glory of God appeared with Moses and Elijah the Lord seemed to be saying that what the law could not do, in that it could not make men righteous, Jesus could do. And the role of the prophets was fulfilled because Jesus had now become chief prophet.

The disciples were so moved that they wanted to build a place on that mountain to worship, but just as they were suggesting that the glory cloud descended over them and a voice spoke out of the cloud saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him” (Luke 9:36).

The age of the law and the prophets was ended. Jesus Christ brought fullness to that age and opened another era in man’s relationship with God. Now, instead of the law we have the Spirit of God himself in us. In this age we call the age of grace God has given us his righteousness.

 Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of Christ and for the Holy Spirit living in me and for the grace to live righteously. Amen.

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Glory of God in Christ

Daily God Walk for Saturday, April 23, 2010

 Jesus said, “Now the son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified – glory all around! – John 13:31-32 (The Message)

 “Glory all around,” what a thought. We have seen how the glory of God is made manifest in his Word and this verse is giving us some further insight on that. When we see Jesus, the Christ, the very Word of God, for who he is something beautiful happens.

John writes, “The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display.” That was not only true in the time Jesus walked this earth, but it is true today. The moment we realize God in Christ and cry out, “Jesus, my Lord and my God,” God’s glory is displayed and we are received into the family of God.

Throughout his life on earth Jesus was one awesome display of the glory of God. From his first recorded miracle of turning water into wine to his final earthly miracle of being raised form the dead his entire life was one massive display of the glory of God.

We have spoken before how God had a plan of redemption, even before man fell from grace in the garden of Eden. Even before God spoke the words, “Let there be light,” and before man was ever created, he knew that man would fall victim to sin. God had a plan to reveal his glory in a most marvelous way.

We think of creation as being a most glorious display of God’s glory, and it was. We sometimes speak of man being the crowning glory of creation, and he was. If creation was that glorious, how much more is the glory of God manifest in the “recreation” of man?

Paul declares, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The moment we realize that Jesus is Lord and commit ourselves to him God’s glory goes on display. At that moment Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and just as he “Hovered over the waters” in Genesis waiting for the command of God’s word, so now he waits within us to display God’s glory to this generation. “Glory all around!”

 Prayer: Father, be glorified in me. In Jesus name, amen.

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The Glory of the One and Only

Daily God Walk Friday, April 22, 2010

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 The active force of God is the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit performs the acts which fulfill God’s will. Holy Spirit is released through the Word of the living God. We first see this in Genesis 1:1-3; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

We have read that the glory of God is manifest through the creation and we have read how the stars declare his glory, but nothing displays his glory more than his Word for it is through his Word that he gloriously reveals himself.

The mental pictures we can imagine are the best we can do to comprehend the awesome power displayed through the speaking of his Word in creation, but that can not even come close to realizing the full glory of God released through the simple words of God, “Let there be light.”

Then, something gloriously marvelous took place. Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and suddenly the eternal word began to take the form of a human in the womb of this virgin girl. The same word that was spoken at creation was becoming flesh and dwelling among men.

This flesh-Word was as enthused with Holy Spirit as the word of creation. Not only was the Word made flesh but Holy Spirit was made manifest in the Word. The glory that John and the others saw was the glory of the Eternal One, the One and Only, the very expression of the Almighty God in flesh.

God has said that he would not give his glory to another, and he hasn’t. God’s Word, which John 1:1 told us is itself God, became flesh and thus God’s glory was manifest to man. Just as Holy Spirit over the waters waiting to be released to reveal God’s glory in creation so Holy Spirit was birthed in the Word made flesh and the Christ was enthused with glorious Holy Spirit power. Hallelujah!

 Prayer: Thank you Father for revealing yourself through the Word, Jesus, the Christ the manifestation of your glory. Amen.

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The Glory Looked Like a Consuming Fire

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, April 20, 2010

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai… To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. – Exodus 24:15-17

 Few, if any, of us have seen anything as awe inspiring as the glory of God manifest on Mount Sinai while God was giving Moses the law. It appears that God was trying to impress upon the people the extreme importance of the message he was giving Moses.

All of the events surrounding the giving of the law on Mount Sinai point to the importance of the call God had placed upon Israel. They were not only called to be the keepers of the law of God but they were also called to carry the seed of the redeemer. A purpose of the law was to keep Israel separate from the rest of the world so that they might be a pure vessel to carry the seed of the redeemer who would come to save the entire world.

Unfortunately, Israel was not mature enough to understand their calling. It would take centuries before they even got to the point they would keep the law, and then they still were not ready to receive the redeemer when he came.

The glory looked to the Israelites like a consuming fire and when Moses didn’t return for many days they lost hope. They murmured that God had killed Moses and left them alone in the desert. They convinced Aaron to melt down their jewelry and from that to form an image that they would worship as their god.

How fickle is the heart of man. Israel went from being awe struck with the glory of God to replacing the Lord God with an image made by man. People aren’t that much different today. How many times have we seen people get a glorious conversion only to see them trade what they had received for another run at what the world has to offer.

Let us remember the glory of the Lord we received on our own mount of conversion and let us never turn loose of it.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to always remember that your glory is a consuming fire, but it is also filled with grace. In Jesus name.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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