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  • Incredulity of Thomas
Praise072401

Neil Mammen, San Jose, CA

I: There are four eternal questions of the Ages

1. What is the meaning and purpose of life?

2. What am I here for?

3. Why is there pain and suffering in the world?

4. Why is there pain and suffering in MY life?

Now they say that there are two great fears inborn into mankind.

1. The fear of loud noises

2. The fear of falling.

Actually I don’t agree with them. First of all my greatest fear is of making a loud noise while I fall and secondly after studying human nature and reading the great philosophers, I really believe that man’s greatest fear is “Extinction without Distinction”.

Let me say that again. Man’s greatest fear is “Extinction without Distinction.”

Our greatest fear is that we’ll die and no one will ever know or care that we ever lived. Do you agree?

Almost every person I’ve ever met in someway is affected and motivated by this.

So tonight I want to address these four fundamental questions and Man’s Greatest Fear all at the same time.

1. What is the meaning of life?

2. What am I here for?

3. Why is there pain in the world?

4. Why is there pain in MY life?

and

5. our greatest fear, will anyone ever care that I lived?

In the summer of 1981 I found myself in the middle of Birmingham Alabama, walking from door to door in the hot sun with a heavy green case in my hands. I would knock on each door with fear and trepidation. My supposed purpose of being there was to sell the books that I was carrying in my green case.

Now you may well wonder why I had come all the way from India to go to school in Oregon and then I had ended up in the hot sun in of all places Birmingham Ala. Well the reason is quite simple, I was doing that so that I could pay my way through college. You see being a foreign student, I wasn’t eligible for any financial aid or for any student loans. And when I applied for a scholarship, the International office told me that there were no scholarships available for foreign students anymore, especially not if they were from India. Plus not having a green card, I wasn’t allowed to get a regular job. But I could start my own door to door sales business, with the help of a company that did such a thing. Now my alleged purpose was to sell books, but my real purpose as it was turning out to be was hoping that at each door that I knocked, that there wouldn’t be anybody home. But there were people home, and some of them didn’t want to talk to me, and some of them didn’t want me to even walk on their property and some of them told me that if I didn’t clear out immediately they’d call the cops. But many of them invited me in and talked to me and fed me and wanted to know all about me.

Now somewhere in between when I started out that summer to sell books with all the energy and enthusiasm in the world and that moment that I found myself knocking on doors, I had quit my job about 9 times.

I had quit because I was tired of being rejected,

I had quit because I was tired of being told no.

I had quit because I was hot,

I had quit because nobody was buying.

I had quit because it was too humid,

I had quit for every excuse I could find.

True, most of the no’s were very nice polite no’s and most of the no’s were no, I’m not really interested and most of the no’s were no I don’t want to buy your books. But being out there on your own, after hardly being in the States for 9 months, these no’s got me down. I thought the no’s were “no I reject you personally.” Ofcourse they weren’t. But I felt they were.

And at that point I was down, and beaten and tired and most of all I was very very hot. I’d been working over 13 hours a day, 6 days a week for almost 5 weeks now and there were 8 more weeks left to go. They say the toughest sales district you will ever be assigned is the 4 inches between your ears. If you can’t convince your brain to put your head down and work, you will never get anywhere ever. And this I’ve found applies to every aspect of life.

In other words I was tired and fed up and ready to quit for the 10th time. Now, the company that I was working for, was very wise, for in my sales kit, they had included a number of motivational books. One of them was called From Prison to Praise. I was out in the suburbs and it’s quite foresty out there so I found a shady spot in a wooded area. I sat myself down for a well earned rest or so I rationalized to myself and decided that I would pull out this book that somehow had ended up in my sales case that day.

The author’s premise was quite simple. And I have added to it to make the foundation of today’s talk.

1. As far as we are concerned, God’s sole reason for existence is to bring glory to Himself.

2. God created us and thus: Our sole reason for existence is to give God glory and Praise.

3. Everything that happens, whether good or bad is predetermined or allowed by God thus we should praise God in ALL circumstances.

So sitting there in that shady area, with the humidity at about 110%, which legally means you are under water, I decided that it was about time I started fulfilling the main reason why I had been created. And the results? Well, ….I’ll tell you, at the end. Let’s take item 1 first.

1. As far as we are concerned, God’s sole reason for existence is to bring glory to Himself.

In other words:

The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever.

Now on the face of it, that might seem a pretty arrogant statement.

When I first got to the States I used to work in the dish rooms at Oregon State University (to pay my tuition again), since I’d just gotten off the boat from India this was the only job I could get. My job was to take the food off the trays on this belt, and stick them in this huge garbage disposal. It was huge and could dispose your entire arm if you weren’t careful. Well, right across from me on this belt was this girl doing the same job. We would get there at 6 am and would work “slop” as they called it till 9 am every morning. So I had a captive audience for 3 hours. I wasn’t going to let that go to waste was I? So I started witnessing to her. I had been witnessing to this her for about a month and finally she said in effect “God this, God that, that’s all I hear about God. God wants this from us, God wants that from us, God is jealous, God wants us to worship Him, God does what He wants when He wants to. He sounds very selfish, arrogant and proud… just who does He think He is?

And in that moment… I got chills down my spine. And I turned to her and I told both her and myself. I said “Why….He thinks He’s God.”

“Oh,” she said realizing what she had just asked.

Yes, He thinks He is God.

But let’s go a step further. He doesn’t only think He’s God, He knows He’s God. Because He is God.

And being God he can be as selfish as he wants

And being God he can be as jealous as he wants

And being God he can be as proud as he wants

because the rules that apply to us…… don’t apply to Him.

Now some of you might say, why? Why shouldn’t God be subject to the same rules that we are.

How come God can be jealous,

how come God can be selfish,

how come God can be egocentric,

how come God can do the very things he tells me not to do?

Doesn’t 1 Corr. 13 say, Love is never envious or jealous or selfish? Isn’t God supposed to be love?

Don’t we seem to be contradicting ourselves?

Well, let me explain: Assume you have a kid, if that’s hard, assume that you are babysitting a kid. While stumbling through the kitchen, the kid happens to find some matches and starts to play with them. He lights a couple and blows them out, that’s fun, so he lights a couple more and blows them out and then he does it again. This is pure fun, and then…. you catch him.

“Aaaargh” you say. “Maaaaaatches!!! Matches?

Matches? you don’t need no steenking matches,

you can’t play with matches”… and you take them away from him.

Now a few minutes later it being winter and all that, it starts to get kind of cold, so you decide to what? To light a fire in the fireplace, guess what you use to light the fire?

Right,

the very same matches,

in the very same box,

and you light them in the very same way that he did. Now in the eyes of the kid, what’s the big difference between what you are now doing and what he was doing?

Absolutely nothing? How come you get to use the matches but He can’t? In his eyes, it’s just not fair.

But in your eyes

it makes perfect sense.

And what’s worse, is that 9 times out of 10 you could try and explain your view to the kid but he’d still think you were unfair because he has no intention of burning the house down and he knows that he won’t burn the house down, he just wants to play with those matches, because they do cool things. But still, he doesn’t get to play with the matches, but you do! You created that rule for the KID.

You see all the rules that apply to the kid, don’t all apply to you.

You see all the rules that apply to you, don’t all apply to God. God is the creator, we are the created. Let’s never forget that. God can do what He wants to, when He wants to and how He wants to, and let’s not talk about fair or unfair. He made the rules and He made the rules for us. In fact He made most of the rules for our protection NOT His protection.

So as far as we are concerned, the chief end of God is to glorify Himself and enjoy Himself forever. And He can do that because He not only thinks he is God, He is God.

Now that’s all theory, let’s see if the Bible supports that idea. So here are some verses:

Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is My name! I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.

Isaiah 48:11 God says: For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this. How can I let Myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.

Exodus 29:43 God says: …I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by My glory.

Isaiah 40:5 God says of himself: “And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”

Isaiah 60:21 Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.

And lest you think it’s only the Old Testament, let’s go to the New Testament.

Matthew 24:30 Jesus says: “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

John 11:4 When he heard this (about Lazurus’ sickness), Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

And just in case you thought I had to dig deep and hard to find verses that talk about God glorifying himself, I didn’t, there are a bunch of them at the end of this talk.

Once while talking to a good friend of mine, he said: You know I have trouble taking the Old Testament seriously. Everywhere I read about God in the Old Testament, he’s being judgmental, vain, selfish. He’s acting like a big spoiled brat. How am I supposed to accept a God like that.

Let me explain why God CAN act like that and we can’t.

First of all. It is not wrong for God to act that way. For being selfish in itself is not evil. Being judgmental in itself is not evil, being arrogant in itself is not evil. It is only evil if we HUMANS do it. You see the reason it is evil, is because those things are reserved exclusively for GOD. And you know what the biggest sin in the world is? It is trying to make ourselves God.

You see by being selfish, wanting glory, or wanting people’s praises, we are taking away from God what belongs to ONLY him. Just like killing someone is evil for us but perfectly acceptable for God. Especially since in God’s hands, death is merely a transition into his Spiritual dimension.

And in fact this then explains why we are never to be arrogant or self righteous, or self praising, for then what would we be doing? Trying to be gods ourselves and that is the first sin. To want to be like God in power and glory. If you recall the first sin in Time was the fall of Lucifer. Why did Lucifer fall?

I’ll tell you, Let’s read Is 14:12. This many theologians believe is an allegory of the Fall of Lucifer.

Is 14:12.

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. ;

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

Why did Lucifer fall? Because he wanted to be JUST LIKE THE MOST HIGH GOD.

Over the eons we have forgotten why being selfish is wrong, why seeking glory is wrong. We think it is wrong in itself. No it is not wrong it itself. It is wrong for US. It was never wrong for God, just wrong for us. But over the years we’ve thrown out the baby with the bath water so to speak. Anything that takes from God what belongs to Him alone, is wrong. But that doesn’t make it wrong for God.

That would be like saying that it is wrong for me to take my car out for a joy ride. No, it’s wrong for a 14 year old kid to steal my car and take it out for a joy ride, but no one in their right mind would consider it wrong if I decided to hop in my car and take it for a spin, would they?

Coming back to the concept of God glorifying Himself.

The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever.

Let’s go a step further. You see it is a Logical necessity and in fact it is of utmost importance that God be all for Glorifying himself.

You see if God wasn’t for Himself, he could and would not be God for us. If there were something else that God was to be glorifying instead of Himself, would not that something else then have to be greater than God.

And in which case should we not be focusing some if not all of our praises on that thing that God was praising?

God has to be the greatest, logically and Biblically there can not be anything greater than God. God has to praise himself, or he would not then be the greatest. Does that make sense?

And we praise Him.

This brings us to point #2,

2. God created us to give Him glory and Praise.

Let’s see if we can prove this using the Bible.

Let us turn to Is 43:6. Is 43:6 Let’s read from Is 43:6 onwards.

I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughter from the ends of the earth-everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for who? MY what? glory, MY GLORY whom I formed and made.

Who formed whom and why?

God formed us, for His glory.

Now skip down to verse 20.

Is 43:20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for who? myself that they may proclaim what? MY praise.

God formed people… why? So that they could proclaim HIS praise.

We have determined that the chief end of God is to glorify himself and enjoy himself forever, now we have supported that concept with this verse and we have also arrived at the second concept. We are formed by God to proclaim His praise.

The Westminister Confessional says:

The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy God forever.

John Piper goes a step further in his books, Desiring God and The Pleasures of God, and says:

The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying God forever.

In other words, you glorify God, by enjoying Him. And when you enjoy Him, you are happy or rather you have joy. Let me ask you a question: Are you enjoying God? Because if you aren’t you are missing out on the most important part of life!

Now some of you are thinking: Why does God NEED me to glorify him? What sort of God is he who NEEDS us to glorify Him.

Well, let’s clarify that right up front. God doesn’t need anything. In John Piper’s book, the Pleasures of God he says: God is quite content being God and finds all the comfort and joy he NEEDS within the fullness of the Trinity.

However, we are missing the point when we ask that question. God created us to NEED to praise Him. Therefore, while God enjoys our praise he doesn’t need it.

But we NEED to praise HIM to enjoy ourselves.

We NEED to praise HIM to be content,

we NEED to praise HIM for our well being.

We NEED to praise HIM to have joy.

Because He has wired us that way. You could ask why has he wired us that way, but that’s a question for a later date.

How many of us have heard the statements to this effect:

In a desperate prayer: Oh God, if you just get me out of this fix, I’ll go to church every Sunday.
Or: I think God is mad at me because I haven’t been going to church.
Or: I think I’ll make God happy this Sunday by going to Church.

The truth really is quite the opposite. Imagine that you are visiting a village near a mission hospital in Papua New Guinea. The doctors in the Hospital are volunteers. They get no money from their patients. Now as you are walking around the village you see a native Papua New Guinean who has just been gored in his thigh by a wild boar. The New Guinean says to you: Well, if the doctors at the hospital give me a new spear, I’ll go to the hospital and have my wound taken care off. And you say: You dough head, you need to go to the hospital. Not for the doctors sake, but for your sake.

Isn’t that the same as saying: Oh God if you get me this great job that I’ve been longing for, I’ll go to church every week.

Or how silly would it be if the same man said: I’ll go to the hospital and have my leg tended to and make the Doctor happy. You’d say, dummy, you’ll get gangrene and they’ll have to chop of your leg if you maintain that attitude. If you don’t go to the hospital, you’ll get nothing and like it. The New Guinean doesn’t need to go to the hospital for the doctor, he needs to go to hospital for himself.

When we praise God or go to church, in a sense we are really doing it for ourselves. We don’t go to Church for God, we go to Church for ourselves. We don’t give money to God for God’s sake, He owns everything. We give money for our own joy. Because we will never find peace apart from obeying and praising God.

God has provided the Church to be a family for us, to care for us to protect us, to help US. Not to help God.

You see God also designed us to need to be in Ministry. I am convinced that all of us as Christ Followers also need to be in Ministry to be content. And the Church is there to provide us a place to be in ministry. The pastors and the teachers at church are there to train us for the ministry.

You see you don’t go to Church for God, you go to Church for you.

The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying God forever.

If we enjoy God, we have Joy.

To have Joy, we must glorify God.

You know, in all the years of ministry I’ve done, to tell the truth I’ve gotten far more out of it, than I’ve given. I’ve always said, if you are in the right ministry for your talents, you will get fired up by doing it. You will enjoy doing it. Sure you may have trying times and down days. But overall, it will be something that stimulates you.

And you know God in His everlasting Love and Mercy has chosen to use us sinners in Churches like this Church to minister to those whom he sends to the Church. He has chosen to use families and communities like this to reach out to the lost and lonely and the not so lost and not so lonely.

And let me tell you there is no real fulfillment until you have dedicated your life to enjoying God.

So now let’s see if we can answer the first 2 questions of all time.

1. What is the meaning and purpose of life?

2. What am I here for?

Answer:
1. What is the meaning and purpose of life?

Answer: The meaning and purpose of Life is to Enjoy God, by Glorifying Him.

2. What am I here for? [Well this automatically follows doesn’t it?]

Answer: I am here on this earth to Glorify God by Enjoying Him forever.

Without that, I promise you, that you will never find the peace that passes all understanding, or the joy of the Lord. You will always be searching, never content. You may become the richest person on the earth like Howard Hughes, the most desired person on the earth like Marilyn Monroe, the most loved singer in the world like Elvis Presley or even some of the most powerful people on the earth like Napoleon or Hitler or Stalin. And you will never be content.

This brings us to the third and fourth questions and their answers:

3. Why is there pain in the world?

4. Why is there pain in MY life?

The answer which some of us may not like too much is Point #3:

Point #3: Everything that happens, whether good or bad is predetermined or allowed by God thus we should praise God in ALL circumstances.

Around the turn of the century, standing on the dock of a port in the United States a man watched his entire family sail away to England on the steamship Ville de Havre. His entire family consisted of his three little daughters and his wife Anna. Three daughters that were his life, and whom he loved dearly, being even more precious to him having just lost his son. I have no doubt that prior to their leaving he and they, prayed fervently for a safe journey.

On November 22, halfway to Europe the ship was struck by the English ship Lochearn, and it sank in twelve minutes. Anna and their four little girls were cast into the inky black sea. Anna frantically tried to save them but although she briefly grasped the hem of the nightgown of one of them, they all slipped away. Anna was found floating unconscious on a piece of wreckage and was rescued. The ship had sunk so fast that of the hundreds aboard, only forty-seven were rescued.

“But why God” we are tempted to ask “Why? …..We prayed?”

God brings Trials

You see God brings and allows sufferings, turn to Is 45:5-7, 9.

5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God… 6 from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. 9 “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, `What are you making?’

God allows sufferings. He says: “I bring prosperity and create disaster;”

But we may ask- why does the Lord bring trials? Well there are numerous reasons.

Reasons 1:

Turn to Romans 5: 2-5

Rom. 5:2 … And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Why does God allow us to suffer? To perfect us, to produce perseverance, to produce character and of course all this produces hope in God, faith in God. But hope is not an end to itself is it. No, you see through this hope, God pours out His love into our lives and into the people around us through the Holy Spirit.

But what else does sufferings bring?

Reasons II:

Let us read II Cor 12:9-10

2Cor. 12:9 But He [The Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

My power is made perfect in weakness. God’s power and glory shine through our weakness. You see, if you do something on your own because you are strong and capable, you get the credit. But if God does something through you despite the fact that you are weak and unable, God gets the credit.

Why else does God allow suffering?

Reasons III:

As they were walking they saw a blind man on the side of the road.

John 9:2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

God allows suffering so that He can bring Glory to Himself.

Reasons IV:

I Pet 1:6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have suffered grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

OK there are two issues in that verse. One is more reasons why God allows us to suffer: so that our faith may be refined and be proved genuine, but why is that important? So that it may what? So that it

may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

That is so important that we should repeat that again. Why is suffering allowed in our lives? So that it may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

What does that mean? It really means that most of the time we have no idea what God’s plans are. But since we know that all his plans revolve around his Glory, whatever happens to us now is a small part of him being glorified. And thus we should trust him and praise him even in these trying times.

We still praise Him.

So what am I saying. I am saying that God is in control of every single thing that takes place, he allows and sometimes even creates disaster just as he allows and brings blessings and healing. And he does all this for his purposes. And many times we never know what His ultimate purposes are. If you remember the story of Joseph in the old Testament. Through out Joseph’s trials, being abandoned by his family, being falsely accused, being forced to become a slave, being thrown in a dungeoun, he never knew what God was doing in his life. It wasn’t till years later when he became second only to the mighty Pharoah, he told his brothers, you meant this for evil, but God meant it for good, and he saved his entire family from starvation, and the very nation of Israel was formed there.

You mean we should praise him in times of suffering? Yes, not only praise him but also thank him.

Continually giving thanks for all things

Turn to Eph 5:19

Eph. 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for [what?] everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now the question here is what is everything? Is everything the good things? Is everything the fun things? Is everything the blessings? Sure it is? But is everything only the good things? Only the fun things? Only the blessings?– Ah, that’s different, you see everything includes the bad things!!!

But wait just a doggone second you say! I’m supposed to thank God for the bad things as well? That’s just ridiculous. That means in the story I just told you, the man was supposed to thank God for the loss of his children, for the loss of his daughters? Are you out of your mind?

No, I’m not out of my mind. I am forced to accept what the Bible says. After I’ve proved to myself that the Bible is accurate, I am forced to accept it. Yes the verse does mean thanking God for all things, for the good things and for the bad things!!!

And let me tell you, I am speaking from experience. I am speaking this out of the pain I have experienced in past too. God desires our praise even in our pain.

Let’s read Hebrews 13:15
Sacrificing Praise

Hebr. 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise –the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, let me repeat that,

let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise

What exactly is a sacrifice of praise?

Well to analyze that let us first understand what a sacrifice is. A Sacrifice is something that costs us something. A Sacrifice is something that we don’t really want to give at first. A Sacrifice is something that is hard to give. A Sacrifice is something that we may want to keep.

So that is sacrifice, what is praise?

That’s easy. Praise is praise to God. Praise is glorifying God, Praise is acknowledging the awesome creator. Praise is giving God what he deserves.

So a sacrifice of praise is…..? Praise that costs us something. It’s praise that we don’t really want to give at first. It is praise that is hard to give. It’s praise that costs us our pride and forces us to humble ourselves. Because we want to feel like we deserve something.

Sacrificing praise is praising God when we don’t feel like it.

Now remember I’m not saying that you should be sarcastic or irreverent or just say it without meaning it.

Sacrificing praise is meaningfully and with heartfelt praise, worshipping God.

It is praising God when things are going bad, knowing who He is.

It is praising God when you are down and broken and defeated

And the world is against you. When there is no solution, there is no way out.

And you look up into the majesty of the almighty God and you say: God, I have no idea why this is happening

I have no idea what is going on,

I have no idea what is going to happening.

But in this deepest darkest moment, in this moment of despair I bow before you and I praise you Oh Lord,

I praise you because you are so powerful,

because you are so majestic,

because you are God, creator of Heaven and of Earth,

and I am nothing, in your presence, and yet I know you love me.

I praise you and I thank you for this situation. May I glorify you in everything. And like the martyrs in Rome, even as the lions came pouring out into the arena, to tear the Christians to shreds, they stood there, saying may I even in my death bring you glory and praise.

O Lord may I a creature, bring Glory to my Creator.

And then you get a taste of what life is all about. Then you understand the meaning of life. That I, a insignificant puny nothing, am even of such importance that my Creator, the one who created the Sun, that man in all of his scientific knowledge and silly little power can not even fully comprehend, this very Creator knows when even a hair of my head falls and loves me so deeply. And He is using me to glorify Him.

Believe me. I’ve been there. And there is nothing so cleansing as that moment. There is nothing so defining in life as that moment.

Yes, we are to praise and thank God in all circumstances. Especially the tough and trying ones. Especially if and when the time comes for us to die for Him.

You see for every non-Christian that gets cancer, there is one Christian who gets cancer too. So that the world may see and compare, how the Christ centered person copes with it. So that the world may see what it means to know an awesome God. So that the world may see God bring glory to Himself. So that the world may know what it is like for a believer to die peacefully knowing that he is going to be in the arms of the Almighty Loving Soverign God. It is a far greater place they go to than they have ever been before.

Job 1:18 … yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were … at the[ir] oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in.. and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead…!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in [what?] in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Praise without ceasing, in everything give thanks

Turn to I Thes. 5:16-18 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So we are commanded to praise God and thank God in all circumstances. Thank you God that my relationship was torn apart. Thank you God that my husband has left me. Thank you God that the business that I worked for 4 years had to file Chapter 11. I don’t understand, I praise you for that. That almost seems blasphemous. But we are commanded to do it. Because only God knows what He will do with the situation. Only God knows how He will Glorify himself in this. And when he Glorifies himself through us, our Joy will know no bounds.

Despite our ability to comprehend why.

You see we won’t and we can’t always understand God:

Turn to Isa. 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

You see the real question is do we have faith to rejoice that God has everything in his hands, and that nothing is going to happen today or ever that has not been either expressly commanded or specifically allowed by God. He’s got the whole world in his hands tonight. And He knows where the sparrow lands. If we can’t praise him in those circumstances, in our pain, does that not mean that perhaps we haven’t yet committed ourselves to trusting that God is doing what is best?

Do you think that God who created this universe and placed the stars in the heavens was any less careful when He created you? Nor has he been careless with the circumstances He has allowed into your life in order to show you how much He loves you.

And at some point we should compare our cushy lives to the lives of the saints before us, compare our life to Paul’s, can we even complain? I can’t!

In your notes I’ve given you a small summary of what Glorifying God means.

Some definitions of what Glorifying God means?

1. It means Comprehending the magnitude of God, Understanding who God is in relationship to who you are.

2. It means having a Heartfelt Gratitude, a thanksgiving heart

3. It means Trusting God

4. It means Praising God

5. It means replacing all grumbling with praise.

Do you grumble when you don’t get enough sleep? Do you grumble when you have to do extra work? Do you grumble when things go wrong at the office? Do you grumble when you have to pay bills? Do you grumble when you hit a red light? Or do you whine? Well replace everything with praising God. Praise Him for the lack of sleep and plan to glorify him anyway. Praise Him for having to do the extra work, and pray that He will glorify Himself that way. Praise Him for the bills, Praise Him for the red light they are there to protect you. Thank him for everything however absurd that may seem

6. It means trying to learn what God is teaching you through pain

7. It means Enjoying God

8. It means loving God

9. It means knowing that God loves you.

10. It means serving God in your work.

11. It means serving God in ministry.

12. It means obeying God’s rules that are there for YOUR well being.

13. It means studying about the Nature of God as given to us in the Bible.

Hab. 3:17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

• Conclusion: Actions and the challenge

As we come to the conclusion of today’s talk. We’ve answered the 4 main questions in life.

1. What is the meaning and purpose of life? To live for God.

2. What am I here for? To Glorify God

3. Why is there pain in the world? To Glorify God

4. Why is there pain in MY life? To refine me so that I may glorify God.

And to respond to your greatest fear:

5. Will anyone ever care that I lived? This can only be answered by saying: If you live for God, you WILL make your mark for all eternity. For instance if you make a billion dollars you will only change the world for 1 year or 1 century. But if you are used by God to save someone, that person will be your monument though out all eternity. If you Glorify God, you will never be forgotten. For what you do for yourself will be forgotten. But what you do for God will live for all eternity, because God is eternal. Live with Passion, die with Passion …….for Him.

I Corr 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So today itself start changing your. Commit yourself to live a life of praising God instead of complaining. Commit yourself to living a life of enjoying God. Remember to Praise and thank the Lord for ALL things. Sacrifice Praise as Hebr. 13:15 tells us. This means the good and the bad.

Start all your prayers with a season of praise first. In fact dedicate a day each week where you only praise God. Nothing else. Just praise God.

You will see your life change. I promise you.

I told you that I would tell you what happened to me that summer. Remember me sitting in Alabama on that hot hot humid sticky summer? Well I decided right then that I would start praising God all the time. I went on to become the top selling salesperson in my entire team of rookies that summer and earned enough money to pay for the next year of college. But when I got back to school, I found out that despite the fact that the office had said there were no scholarships available, they had given me a full tuition scholarship anyway. I still went back to work in the Dining Room despite the fact that I didn’t need to. And this time they gave me a cushy job punching people’s meal cards. And the girl I’d been witnessing to, came up to me one day and said: I decided that I do believe in God.

Things happen when you praise God. You enjoy Him much more.

Let me finish with the conclusion of story of the man who lost his daughters.

The man’s three daughters had died. Died in what may seem a tragic & useless death.

When he finally got word from his wife via a telegram, she said, “Saved alone.” His children whom he loved, whom he had brought up, whom he had prayed for, whom he’d taken joy in were all dead.

He needed to go across the Atlantic to be with his wife and so he set sail to England. And yes, his heart mourned for his family that had been torn apart. Torn apart through no fault of man’s. There was not a thing that any man without knowledge of the future could have done or not done once they were on the ship to have saved those girls. The responsibility of their deaths lay purely in the hands of God. God had absolute power in their deaths.

As they crossed the Atlantic, they came upon the location where his family’s ship had sunk. The captain had at his request informed him when they came upon the exact latitude and longitude where his girls had died. And there, in the bow of that ship, looking down on the cold dark waters that had taken his own daughters life, he wrote a song.

It Is Well With My Soul

by Horatio Spafford

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul).

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet,

Though trials should come,

Let this blessed assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And has shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day

When my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound,

And the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul!

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul).

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Let me ask you. When the time comes, can you do that? Then not only will people care that you lived, but whatever you do for God will last forever. Everything else will burn like wood hay and stubble. Do you trust God that much, that you know that He knows best and that He is God? Can you walk amongst Lions? I pray that I can. I pray that I can.

Are you going commit yourself to changing your life today, will you live a life of Praise in all seasons. Make that commitment. It will change your life. It changed mine.

A small sampling of Glory Verses

Some describe God’s desire to glorify himself, others talk about incidents where He shows His glory.

Key word: Glory

Exodus 14:4 & 17-18

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”

…And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen….

The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Exodus 29:43

there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.

Isaiah 40:5

God says: “And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Isaiah 42:8

“I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.

Isaiah 48:11

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.

Isaiah 59:19

God says: From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.

Isaiah 60:19

God says: The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

Isaiah 66:18

God says: “And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory.

Isaiah 66:19

God says: “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations–to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians, to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.

Jeremiah 13:16

God says: Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom.

Ezekiel 40 and onwards tell about

The Cherubim whose main job is to glorify God

Ezekiel 28:22

`This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “`I am against you, O Sidon, and I will gain glory within you. They will know that I am the LORD, when I inflict punishment on her and show myself holy within her.

Ezekiel 39:21

God says: “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them.

Zechariah 2:5

And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, `and I will be its glory within.’

Matthew 16:27

Jesus says: For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Matthew 24:30

Jesus says: “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

Matthew 25:31

Jesus says: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.

Mark 8:38

Jesus says: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Luke 9:26

Jesus says: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

John 11:4 (Lazarus’s sickness and death)

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

John 15:8

Jesus says: This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 16:14

Jesus says: He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

Romans 3:7

Paul says: Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?”

Revelation 1:6

and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Revelation 5:12

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Revelation 14:7

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Revelation 21:11

It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

Revelation 21:23

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp

Exodus 33:22

When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

Leviticus 9:6

Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.”

Isaiah 6:3

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Exodus 16:10

While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.

Exodus 24:16

and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud.

Isaiah 44:23

Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

Key word: Glorify

John 8:54

Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

John 12:28

Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

John 13:32

If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

John 17:1

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

John 17:5

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Romans 15:6

so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:8-9

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs, so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”

Revelation 16:9

They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

Key word: Praise

Isaiah 48:9

For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off.

Isaiah 61:3

and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:11

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations

Isaiah 57:18

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, 19 creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the LORD. “And I will heal them.”

Jeremiah 13:11

For as a belt is bound around a man’s waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to me,’ declares the LORD, `to be my people for my renown and praise and honor

Jeremiah 33:9

Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’

Acts 12:23

Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Ephesians 1:12

in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

1 Peter 1:7

These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Revelation 19:5

Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!”

Leviticus 10:3
Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: “`Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.'” Aaron remained silent.

Deuteronomy 32:39
“See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.

Isaiah 44:24
“This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

Isaiah 45:23
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.

Isaiah 48:11
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.

Ezekiel 20:5
and say to them: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of the house of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, “I am the LORD your God.”

Ezekiel 20:9
But for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations they lived among and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites by bringing them out of Egypt.

Ezekiel 28:22
and say: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “`I am against you, O Sidon, and I will gain glory within you. They will know that I am the LORD, when I inflict punishment on her and show myself holy within her.

Ezekiel 28:25
“`This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob.

Ezekiel 29:3
Speak to him and say: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “`I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. You say, “The Nile is mine; I made it for myself.”

Zechariah 2:5
And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, `and I will be its glory within.’

Job 38:4
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:

2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?

3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–

7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels [1] shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,

9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,

10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,

11 when I said, `This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place,

13 that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?

14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment.

15 The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [2]?

18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. …..

 
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