Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Brief Pause

           M

y last few posts have been devoted to the Nativity, and I confess to you I’ll probably be pondering the concept of the “Glory” of the Lord for a long, long time.  Very fresh and fertile soil which contains more potential than I’ll ever be able to exhaust!   

          The next post will return to the life of King David.  We’ve considered some of his heroic accomplishments and contributions and the lofty place he occupies in Hebrew history.  We also ran headlong into his selfish dalliance which created such a scandal it could have wrecked his kingdom and destroyed any possibility he had of a decent legacy.  He really messed up!  In a familiar scenario too often repeated by rich, spoiled, self-Indulgent “leaders,” he very nearly destroyed his kingdom as well as any worthwhile lasting legacy he may have left. 

           In the last sentence of the report detailing the shameful debacle, the reporter commented: “The thing David had done displeased the Lord.”(II Samuel 11:27).  That is an understatement.  A Classic Understatement.  Apparently out of control, David had set in motion some forces which no spin machine could control.  No glib, smooth-talking, fast-talking “front man” with any amount of money could hush.  ”God was not pleased.”  That has the sound to me of a quiet rumbling, growing beneath the surface and about to unleash wrath.    For a while I’ve been pondering what would happen next in this breaking scandal.  my thoughts so far are under a file which I’ll be calling “You Da Man!” 

           Before launching into that, though, I wanted to let you know I truly appreciate the thoughtful encouragement and comments some of you have offered.  you don’t need to be reluctant to share your own observations.  I’m wanting to learn from you as well as hoping something I write might be helpful to you.  I also wanted to wish you again much great Joy as you’ve pondered the real meaning of Christmas and as you take that with your aith and hope into all your new years.  And, there’s another thing I’ve done while trying to take care of a sick wife (She’s better now, thank you.) and juggle a few other responsibilities.  In my opinion, the people who comment on this site are smarter and better writers than I could ever hope to be.  I don’t know how they do it, but if  you click on the little icon (Picture) beside their remarks, it will take you to their sites.  

         I’ve mentioned several of my friends before.  I believe you’d be really impressed with the entire lot of them.   Anne Lang Bundy, Bob Brault, Brad Moore, nAncy, Neil Simpson, Robert Sutherland, Marie Notcheva, Mark Ryman, and others.  They invest a good deal of time and thought into their efforts, and they enjoy their work. If  you appreciate their talent, why not tell them? Your encouragement will simply double their joy and inspire them to continue and get better.  And you’ll feel better, too, doing something that icne!  

          Expressing appreciation and offering encouragement is a good thing for everyone involved.  I think I’ll make that one of my New Year’s Resolutions! 

(I’ll Be Back Shortly.  ~Donkimrey)

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The GLORY of the coming of the Lord

THE GLORY OF THE LORD….

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? 

         Searching for an answer to that question, I ran across an eloquent attempt to define “Glory.” It was in a sermon by John MacArthur, a very perceptive, capable spokesman for God:

           “Let me give you simply this, to begin with. The glory of the Lord is the expression of God’s person. It is any manifestation of God’s character, any manifestation of His attributes in the world, in the universe is His glory. In other words, the glory is to God what the brightness is to the sun. The glory is to God what wet is to water. The glory is what heat is to fire. In other words, it is the emanation, it is the effulgence, it is the brightness, it is the product of His presence, and it is the revelation of Himself. Anytime God discloses Himself, it is the manifestation of His glory. That really refers to His presence.”                                                                           John MacArthur

         Another attempt was by Robert Brault, a writer whom I’ve come to enjoy and respect.  He hesitated at first, but answered the question after I posed it on his blog: http://www.robertbrault.com:

         “As the saying goes, ‘An author is entitled to his subject.’ There are several dictionary sites, including Wikipedia, that will define glory for you. What they won’t do is wish you a Merry Christmas, which I hereby do.

smiles,
rb
   
Oh, all right—

glory: n, the realization of one’s essential being, as in the blossoming of a rose, the flight of an eagle, the artistic and intellectual expression of the human soul. God’s glory resides in His transcendence of the natural laws He created, as in the appearance of an angel to shepherds.”

         Both are profound, beautiful, definitions and are on target.  However, I’m still not certain. It seems to me that in the Scripture quote above Luke was trying to express the inexpressible. There are times when I stand in awe at mysterious Majesty and am left at a loss for words.  I definitely cannot define this concept fully.  Nor do I understand it completely.  In coming upon this word and spending time contemplating it, I believe I’ve stumbled upon a rich treasure worthy of being explored long after the scent of cedar has faded and the sound of Christmas carols dies on the crisp winter air.

          No words can adequately convey the beauty of a golden sunset or sunrise at the dawning of a new day.  The reality of “glory” is far greater than our limited ability to understand or explain.  And beyond the “glory” of the Lord, there is The Lord, Himself.  Far greater than any expression of His majesty.  Especially as we gather around the Christmas tree and exchange presents, we will discover that the gift inside a package is usually far more wonderful and valuable than even beautiful, professionally wrapped, glittering paper which surrounds it.

         So it is that the “glory” of the Lord surpasses our human capacity to fully understand what it means.  As in many other instances, it does seem to be a valuable enough concept to warrant further investigation and a serious, continuing effort to grasp its significance.  You’re surely familiar with forensic science and know how important it is when investigators find fingerprints, or footprints, or the supremely important DNA at some location.  For a reason entirely different from our purpose here, it is conclusive evidence that a person really was present on that scene.

         Now, as far as real, complete answer to the question I posed, I don’t know.  I simply do not know.

         However, may I pose this possibility? 

         I believe the “glory of the Lord” in the evidence of His presence, or His nearness.  Beyond that, all I feel really comfortable with is that personal conclusion. He was actually here, “in those days.”  At a definite point in time and space, simple, uneducated, probably poor shepherds saw and heard and then told others what they had experienced.

         The word “glory” is used many, many times in many ways throughout Scripture.  Always, it appears, people are startled (even frightened) at such an occurrence.   As they try to absorb the significance, invariably they stare in slack-jawed, wide-eyed wonder. They marvel at the fact that they’ve been in the presence of the Lord.   The experience is burned into their consciousness, and forever afterward they seek His presence and try to follow His leadership.

         Again, I ask the Lord that my priorities might be straight and my vision might be clear so that perhaps “in these days” I may sense (even if I do not see) the Glory of the Lord.  And, of course, I pray the same for you and yours.

         Thus, may this become a truly joyous, memorable Christmas experience.

God’s servant and son, your friend and fellow student,                                                                          ~donkimrey

THE GLORY OF THE LORD, II

          “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them and the GLORY OF THE LORD shone round about them.  And they were sore afraid.  And the Angel said unto them: “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. . . “ (Luke 2:8-11). 


         In considering the concept of “glory,” for some reason I thought of Albert Einstein’s early efforts in theoretical physics while he was a lowly clerk in a fairly remote Swiss patent office. Fresh out of graduate school, he could not get a job in his native Germany. I read somewhere that early in his academic career a professor had advised him to pick any career he wished: No matter what he chose he’d fail at anything he selected.  With a young wife and a baby to support, unable to find work, young Albert was desperate. Being a Jew in Germany was not exactly in his favor, and with an attitude some of the professors considered cocky, his options were very limited in Germany.

         So, he wound up in a remote outpost almost at the edge of nowhere, on the lowest end of the totem pole salary wise, trying to chisel a living out of what even then was a granite – like Swiss economy as far as foreigners were concerned.  But he was ambitious, confident, brilliant, and had some ideas in a massive mind, and an unquenchable imagination and incredible curiosity and patience. He had time on his hands in the slow-paced office, so he pondered and wondered and simply  unlocked some of the great mysteries of the Universe.

         Understand this: He did not invent anything.  He did not create anything.  Just by studying an thinking, his general theory of relativity rocked the scientific world and has led to unimagined developments in almost every area of modern technology; and the end of the impact has not even yet been approached.  He had never seen an atom (nor, for that matter, has anyone else.).  He didn’t know what he was searching for, but as he explored and imagined, he gathered information, took time to think,  and discovered things no one before had seen and most of us can’t even imagine.

         My point is simply this: Einstein did not invent or create anything.  He took time to think, and study, and his theory E=mc2 is a secret of the universe which had been there all the time and he took time to uncover it.

         Trust me.  I’m a long, long way from being an Einstein even after having read two of his biographies. There are so many wonders and mysteries we’ve not yet explored. Vast areas where there is no evidence of a human footstep or imprint.  Outer space and the ocean depths are only two such areas.  In my opinion, the “Glory of the Lord” may be one of those ideas worthy of further consideration. I realize  it isn’t a concept which can be reduced to a mathematical equation or a chemical formula contained in a test tube.  It does strike me, though, as being worth more than a passing glance.

         My personal view of Scripture is that God doesn’t waste words or ideas.  If He says something, it is noteworthy.  It is, therefore, worth taking time to try to understand if we can. 

         So:  Here I am still pondering the question: “What is the Glory of the Lord.”

         I feel very certain it is more than the sights (beautiful, colorful, twinkling lights, snow scenes, etc,) scents (of cedar/pine, cinnamon, etc.), sounds (Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Away in a manger, etc.), tastes (gingerbread, fruitcake, peppermint candy canes, etc.) and the treasure chest full of frosted, multi-colored  memories of your yester years.

         A prayer of mine is that I will somehow be able to get beyond the trappings and wrappings, tinsel and distractions and discover the “Glory of the Lord” and understand the meaning of the Message the Angel announced. And that I’ll be able to experience fresh and fist hand something of the joy and wonder of that night when a feed trough in Bethlehem cradled the King of Kings.

         That, also, is my prayer for you and those whom you love.

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student   ~donkimrey

the GLORY OF THE LORD

          Reading the narratives again about the Birth of Christ, a phrase gripped my mind and imagination in a way it had not done before.  Here’s what I was reading. . .          

          “And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and

            keeping watch by night over their flock. And an angel of the Lord stood

            by them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for, behold,

            I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people:

            for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, which

            is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you; ye shall find a babe

            in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2)

         

            So, I began to think about that phrase. . . “The GLORY of the Lord.” And in times of solitude as our celebration of Christmas approaches, I’ve thought about it further length: 

         What IS the Glory of the Lord? 

         My view of Scripture is that in a wonderfully unique sense it is the written Word of God.  That is a faith presupposition (we all have them) and the point of departure as I approach the study of Scripture.  Because of that view, I have a feeling we take it much too lightly (even those who thump it vigorously and say they believe  every jot and tittle from Generation to Revolution~in the KJV!).  It deserves reverent respect and thought, and I dare not skim superficially over the surface hardly ever pausing to weigh words and ideas and discover treasure that will yield to prayerful thought and careful study.

         What, then, is the “Glory” of the Lord?

         In pursuit of an answer I consulted a dictionary, a thesaurus, a concordance, a Bible dictionary, Wikipedia (a pretty handy online encyclopedia), a couple of sermons on the subject and a couple of commentaries.  I also conferred with the gentleman whose face I see in the mirror each time I decide to shave.  He and I don’t even try to blow smoke at each other these days!  And I wondered and pondered.  I tried to think of synonymns (other words with similar meaning) and antonymns (words with the opposite meaning.  Sometimes I can get a better understanding of an idea if I can decide what it is NOT.).        

           There’s a lot of information out there; much of it what I call “antics with semantics.”  I found out that “glory” can be used as a noun (like what ‘shone around the shepherds’ that night in the passage which triggered my thinking.), or a verb (like the way Paul used it when he said he would not ‘glory’ in anything other than the cross of Christ.). I’ve also heard it used as an interjection.   If you ever spent any time around Baptists, you’ve probably heard folks say that instead of “amen,” or “hallelujah,” or “praise the Lord.”  They’d simply verbalize their nearly delirious joy by shouting “GLORY!”  The Marines at Camp Lejeune near here often say:  “Hoooaaahh!”  I’m not sure I always understand what they mean by that, but they do.  It’s an expression.                                                                                  

         If you’re not accustomed to such, it can startle your socks off off!

         The shepherds weren’t expecting such an appearance or spectacular display.  It dawned upon them and turned darkness to light. It scared them.  The entire event frightened them, but this and subsequent happenings turned their world right side up.  They were rocked back on their heels at first, but then they took time to investigate for themselves.  Luke says when they left the manger later that night they were joyous and told everyone what they’d seen and heard.  That sounds like a pretty logical progression.  What they experienced was meant to be shared.

        The Glory of the Lord.  Christmas.  Is there any connection? Has Christmas lost its luster?  Do we ever even think beyond the superficial to consider to the Profound?

         The GLORY of the Lord.  May it shine upon you during this time when we think of Someone whom we should never forget. 

         What do YOU think the “GLORY of the Lord” is?

 

        God’s son and servant, your friend, brother, and fellow student  ><> donkimrey