Saturday, March 12, 2016

No Longer I? CHAPTER 19, Part Three of Four

This book, and Webber's first award-winning book, Meeting Jesus,  should be in the hands of every recruit, soldier, candidate, officer, and former officer - they and the Army will be strengthened as a result. Awarded 5 Stars

Part Three of Four

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and
all cattle, small creatures and flying birds.’
Psalm 148:7-10

Francis of Assisi captured it in his wonderful hymn, ‘All Creatures of our God and King,’ with verses and lines like:

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
Ye clouds that sail in heaven along
O praise him, alleluia!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice:

O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light:

The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them his glory also show.

Let all things their creator bless,
And worship him in humbleness.

Have you ever taken a walk in the countryside, and as you looked at all the beauty and listened to all the sounds, have not felt as though the whole of creation is praising him? But the fact is that nothing in creation can do otherwise. Nothing that God created can be or do other than what he designed them to be or do, from the smallest particle within an atom to the largest mountains and volcanoes, or planets beyond the furthest reaches of the universe. When it comes to the proliferation of plant and animal life and the incredible, incalculable variety of species that exist, they all operate according to how they were designed by the One who created them, however their creation came about. Even any genetic changes through the years have been possible because of the inbuilt possibility that he put in place. The instincts and behaviour of animals are inbuilt, passed down generations through their genes. They have no choice but to be as they are. Their obedience and thus their worship of their creator is an involuntary thing. They can do no other than praise him.

Having said all that, he did create one creature with choice and that was we humans. We have a choice. We can live in intimacy with and obedience to him; such a life glorifies him and brings him pleasure. Or we can plot a course of our own choosing, which obviously grieves him. Christ’s life of intimacy and obedience both glorified and pleased his Father. 

‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17)

In his obedience to his Father, even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8), Jesus brought glory to his Father (John 12:28).

Some think that if only their circumstances were different, if only they had someone else’s talents, abilities, or position, they could achieve great things for God. Yet God would have them seek how they can live to please him where they are. As a consequence, they fail to know that peace of heart that God desires for them, a peace they can know in even the worst of circumstances. In their concern over what they could do for him, given a different situation, they fail to discover what he is waiting to do through them in their present situation. 

God will indeed propel some people into the spotlight or public eye and use them there. Pray for such people, as they are in a greater danger than the rest of us. If Satan can bring down someone who is high-profile, he can do far more damage to God’s work than he could by destroying someone who is unknown. More damage is done by felling a mighty cedar than by destroying a Parasola Plicatilis Fungus.

Another danger in hankering after greater things is that we can fool ourselves into thinking it is all for God’s glory when it is purely to make ourselves feel better, to have the acknowledgement and recognition that other Christians have. God isn’t so interested in what we can do on a platform at a particular time, but what goes on in our hearts and how we are when out of the spotlight, when no one sees us, when there is no-one around. He is interested in what we do in secret, the things that no-one else knows about (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18).

No Longer I?

Howard Webber

Part Three of Four

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