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Posts Tagged ‘Reflecting God’s Glory’

 

Thanks to inventor Hans Busch, physicist Ernst Ruska, and electrical engineer Max Knoll, we’ve enjoyed the benefits of their invention, the electron microscope, since 1931.

With its superior magnification power (up to 10,000,000x), scientists can capture images like those below. See if you can identify the object in each photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo #1–the cross section of a plant stem; Photo #2–butterfly eggs; Photo #3–butterfly scales; Photo #4–olivine (rock); Photo #5–tomato plant leaf; Photo #6 rose petal.)

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

–Psalm 19:1

 

First, the heavens include our planet, of course.  And everything on the earth and in it also tells of the glory of God.

 

 

Second, what exactly is the glory of God? Theologian Charles Ryrie described it as “the manifestation of any or all of God’s attributes on display.” Puritan preacher Thomas Watson said it’s “the sparkling of the Diety.”  I love that, don’t you?

Just in those few microscope-images above we see evidence of his dazzling wisdom—in the design of a plant stem that moves water and nutrients upward against gravity to the leaves. And then the products produced by photosynthesis in the leaves are taken back through the stem to other parts of the plant, including the roots.

We see evidence of God’s stunning artistry in those butterfly eggs with the eye-catching ridges.

And we see his creative use of shape and color in the butterfly scales, the olivine sample, the tomato leaf, and rose petal.

Billions more examples can be found all across our varied planet, manifesting his goodness in the variety of plants, animals, landforms, and more that he’s given us to use and enjoy.

 

 

I wonder—do you suppose God smiled when he created those tiny eggs with dozens of ridges?  That tomato leaf with hundreds of sprouts? (No wonder they feel rough to the touch!)  That rose petal embroidered with ovals? Did he smile to think about the day when someone would discover the infinitesimal splendor he’d designed eons before?

And yet, even more astounding than the magnificence of God revealed in nature is God’s glory revealed in you and me.

 

 

All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces;

and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit,

transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.

1 Corinthians 3:18 GNT

 

We’re a bit like those watches with phosphorescent numbers. The more light those numbers absorb, the more they glow.

Similarly, the more we bask in God’s presence through prayer, praise, and worship, the more we’ll manifest the glow of his attributes:

 

 

  • his perfect wisdom guiding our life choices, what we do, and what we say
  • his marvelous artistry in our positive imprint on others
  • his divine creativity manifested in the unique shape and color of our gifts and talents
  • his absolute goodness in the blessings we bestow to those around us

 

And imagine our faces, glowing ever brighter as we continually reflect more of the sparkling of our Diety.

 

 

What could be more delightful and satisfying?

 

Photo credits:  http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.wikimedia.com (4); http://www.rd.com (2); http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.snappygoat.com; http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.maxpixel.freegreatpicture.

 

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At least one verse in the Bible achieves a remarkable feat. It covers the entire expanse of eternity—from before the beginning of time into the infinite future—with just eighteen words (in the NIV):

“Those [God] predestined, he also called;

those he called, he also justified,

those he justified, he also glorified.”

–Romans 8:30.

That verse also includes four heavy-duty theological concepts. Thick volumes of commentary have been written about each one: 1) predestination, 2) God’s call upon a life, 3) justification, and 4) glorification. But Eugene Peterson has explained each with brevity, wisdom, and simplicity:

 “After God made the decision of what his children should be like” (predestined*),

”he followed it up by calling people by name” (called).

“After he called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with himself” (justified).

“And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end,

gloriously completing what he had begun” (glorified).

–Romans 8:30, The Message

Part of that completion will occur when Jesus presents us with our new bodies and abilities, once we reach heaven (Philippians 3:20-21).

where-is-heaven

But note that those key verbs: predestined, called, justified, and glorified, are all past tense—even the last one.

Some Bible scholars make the point that our glorification in heaven** is so certain, Paul chose past tense.

But there are at least several aspects of glorification that are available to us now. That’s because God’s glory—the sum of his majesty, splendor, and wondrous attributes—gleams brightly in the hearts of those who know Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Think of it. Everything he is, he offers to us in the present, including his wisdom, grace, and kindness; goodness, mercy, and strength; truth, power, and love. Of course, that’s just a partial list. Our God is infinite; so are his glorious attributes.

And as we make ourselves available to God, we begin to experience God’s glory in our lives.

We begin to recognize his goodness in every provision, his mercy and power each time we’re shielded from harm, his wisdom when events unfold for our growth, his love in every blessing, great and small.

We begin to make choices that reflect God’s glorious presence within.  Out of love and appreciation, we desire to lead a life worthy of him and pleasing to him in every way (Colossians 1:10).

We also begin to reflect God’s glory to others.

Gold_panning_in_Nelson_Gulch_near_Helena_Montana

In 1852, a small band of miners discovered gold in Montana. Knowing that the gold rush in California (1849) had caused cutthroat competition and gross inflation, they decided to keep their find a secret. But not long after they returned to town, word spread of their discovery.

Who let the secret slip out? No one. The townspeople knew they had found gold because of the joy on their faces.

We, the glorified children of God, have found greater wealth than gold in our Heavenly Father.  And as we contemplate his glory, we become transformed into his image.  Joy radiates from our faces, just as it did from the miners’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Even more wondrous? As we seek to know him, the Almighty God of the universe is pursuing us. He longs for us to be close to him, where we can experience more of his glory—here and now– and “the glorious riches of his inheritance among the saints” (Ephesians 1:18 HCSB).

Praise to our glorious God for his overflowing love, kindness, and generosity!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

*Predestination is a confusing concept. I appreciate Warren Wiersbe’s explanation in Be Right (Victor Books, 1976). He says the concept only applies to Christians. Nowhere in the Bible do we find evidence that God has prechosen certain people to be forever condemned. He’s given each person the choice to follow him or not (John 1:12).

 ** a thorough transformation into holy radiance (Ephesians 5:27)

(Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest.com; http://www.faithgateway.com; http://www.egoldprospecting.com.)

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