The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Category: Lent

First Lent Devotional: Genesis 12:1-4

Each day of the Lenten season, I will be emailing out a devotional to many of the members of SVCC. I will also be sharing these devotionals via www.thejoyofglory.com
 
These are designed to accompany the SVCC Lenten reading guide which may be found here: 
 
In these devotionals, I will give a link that will take you to the entire reading for the day. I will actually include a few of the verses upon which I will focus my reflections. In the reflection section, I will make a few brief comments which I hope will spur your own thinking and prayers.
 
Lent is meant to be a season of repentance and fasting that prepares our hearts for the coming celebration of Easter (fuller explanation here). Repentance is a reminder that we need to be saved from our sin…we need a Savior. Fasting reminds us that we are not in need of the things this world offers, but in desperate need of Jesus. So, the point of Lent is that we need Jesus…we need Easter. It is my prayer that these daily devotionals will simply help remind us of our daily need for Christ.
 
Genesis 12:1-4 (click here)
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
 
Reflection
“Follow me.” Do those words sound like loss or gain to you?
 
Sixteen years ago, when I stood before God, family, and friends, and pledged myself in marriage to Holly, I saw it all as gain. In reality, there was much that I was losing and leaving behind by committing to be Holly’s husband.
 
I was losing my singleness; I was leaving living with my family. I was losing my total autonomy; in many ways, I was leaving behind the word “mine.” On and on the list could go with more losing and more leaving… yet still I call it “gain!”
 
Why?… How?…
 
Because… I gained a bride; I entered into a new family. I gained a new kind of freedom that surpassed the value of my former autonomy; in many ways, I entered into a new kind of “mine” as I am hers and she is mine. On and on the list could go with more gaining and more entering to the point that I look at this marriage and it is no loss to me… it is all gain! 
 
In Genesis 12, when God called Abram (later given his more well-known name, Abraham) to follow him, I wonder if he heard that call as loss or gain? In reality, there was much that he was losing and leaving behind. He was losing his country and leaving his kindred. He was losing the life he had known and leaving the security of home. Yet, I believe Abram still called it gain!
 
Why?… How?…
 
Because he gained God! Abram gained a new country and entered into a new kindred relationship with the Almighty! He gained a new life and entered into a new security as the God of the universe made a covenant with him! By faith, Abram called this gain! I say “by faith” because it would be years before he would see God’s covenant promises come to pass and some he would not ever see come to fruition in his lifetime. But still, Abram looked at the covenant call of God and by faith he called it gain!
 
What about you? The call of Christ on our lives is similar to the call of Abram. We are called to lose and leave the former life we have known. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. Do those words sound like loss or gain to you? 
 
O’ Christian, I pray you hear them for the gain they truly are as they call you to gain Christ and enter into true life in him! In Christ you gain a new country, heaven, and you enter into a new kindred with God as your Father and the Church as your family. In Christ you gain eternal life and enter into a new security as all this has been promised to you and purchased by the blood of Jesus.
 
It’s true, we will not see all these covenant promises come to full fruition in this lifetime, but by faith we look at the covenant call of God knowing that he who promised is faithful and so every step of the way we can call following Christ gain!
 
Today, will you live like following Jesus is gain? 
 
Today, when you hear him say, “Follow me…” do those words sound like loss or gain to you?
 
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Revelation 22:1-5

*This is the last devotional as this is the final day of the season of Lent. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Join us tomorrow for our Easter celebration at SVCC 10:30am. Everyone is invited to bring bread (no nuts) to place on the communion tables before the service. Also, don’t forget to bring flowers to place on the cross. I hope to see you tomorrow.

Revelation 22:1-5 (click here)
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)

Reflection
No more night…no more darkness.

Today is Holy Saturday. You know…that day between Good Friday and Easter. We never think about this day. It had to be the darkest day of the disciples lives. Jesus was dead…in the ground, buried, not coming back, it is finished…dead.

At least that is how things looked from the disciples perspective.

And, if we’re honest, that is how things often look from our perspective. Our lives almost feel like one giant “Holy Saturday.” Jesus is “gone,” not really, but we cannot see him. And, we find ourselves living in a world covered in darkness. All seem hopeless.

At least that is how things look from our perspective.

But just like Christ had promised the disciples a resurrection…he has promised us a return. He will come again to banish darkness once and for all! Revelation 22 envisions an eternal day in which God himself is the unending light and there is no more night for the brightness of his glory never fades and never fails!

All things accursed will be dealt with, done, finished, gone…and all things made new. And, we shall know eternal joy in worship of him! Our long “Holy Saturday” will give way to an eternal Easter of sorts…for WE will see his face!

The one who has been hidden from our sight, will be the very light by which we see him in all his glory! We will see HIS face!

We WILL see his face! Think of it…can you even begin to imagine it…to fathom it…to grasp it! No matter the darkness we face within this world, we hold onto the promise of his return that is guaranteed by his resurrection. We hold onto the promise of that the night is temporary and the eternal light is coming to cast it out forever. We hold onto the greatest of all promises…

WE WILL SEE HIS FACE!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Revelation 15:2-4

*Good Friday service tonight, 6pm at SVCC.
160 Oxmoor Rd. Homewood, Al. 35209

Revelation 15:2-4
And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Reflection
The untamable sea.

In the ancient mind, the sea was a symbol of all that was uncontrollable and unpredictable. Travel by sea was risky and often cost people in cargo and even took lives.

No one could control the sea.

Yet, the Jewish people claimed to know the God who created all things including the sea. He set limits for where the waves fall on the shoreline (Job 38:8-11). And, when he took on flesh he walked upon the violent waters (Matthew 14:22-33) and calmed them with his voice (Mark 4:35-41). This God could control the sea and bring all it’s evil and mayhem to an end.

In fact, this God has promised to bring all evil and mayhem to an end. Before his throne there is a sea like glass…perfectly stilled, perfectly calmed…never to harm again! Our God will make all things new and for this we will worship!

Through we are afflicted and oppressed, struck down and mistreated, persecuted and even killed…none of that evil wins! God will set all wrongs to rights and we will praise him for his amazing deeds! We will praise him as the almighty one who has brought justice among the nations! We will glorify the holy one who has revealed his righteousness to the world!

Today, Good Friday, we stand amidst the clash of ages…an age of an evil kingdom that is passing away, and an age of the righteous kingdom of God that is breaking in. We see these things clash when we gaze at the cross.

At the cross, God’s holy, right, and good judgment was pour out on Christ as he took on our sin and defeated it. He defeated this age of death. And, at the cross, God’s grace was poured out toward sinful mankind. By faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ, we become citizens of a new kingdom and belong to a new age.

The cross is a symbol of death to the old age of sin, and a symbol of life to the in-breaking age of righteousness. The cross closes the door on one kingdom and opens the door to another. The cross is the reason we will one day stand before the throne of God, beside the crystal sea, and all evil will be done away with and the kingdom of God will arrive in full.

This is why we call this Friday…GOOD.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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