Two Thrones

May 16, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 7 Comments
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Years ago I read a quote that I really liked, and I jotted it down: “God has two thrones – one in the highest Heaven, and one in the humblest heart.” The problem is that I forgot to write down who said it, or where I read it. My best guess is that it is somewhere in a collection of volumes I have – compiled by Warren Wiersbe – of famous sermons by famous preachers on different topics. However, I haven’t been able to relocate it, so I can’t be certain of giving credit to who said it, although I have seen it attributed “on the internet” (a dubious source at best!) to D.L. Moody.

In any event, I think of that quote often. First, I think about the amazing and fearful idea that the almighty, sovereign Creator and Lord of the universe would deign to take up residence on the petty little throne of my insignificant and obscure heart. What a simultaneously humbling and encouraging thought! And what a stark and convicting reminder of how often and how treacherously I am guilty of trying to weasel my way back onto that throne after I have supposedly ceded it completely to its rightful Owner and King!

God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

Psalm 47:8

Second, I think of just how high the throne of the highest Heaven must be, and just how mighty must a King have to be Who would ascend to this throne. A well-known (and increasingly criticized and even ridiculed) evangelical plea says that we need to “ask Jesus into our hearts.” Regardless of the theological accuracy of the wording, the idea is astounding, for this Jesus on Whom we must call for our eternal salvation did Himself once ascend to the throne of the highest Heaven – as God, yes – but also truly as a man. Being an immutable being, if He has indeed “come into” my heart, and is indeed seated on the throne there, He must rule with the same authority invested in His Father’s throne on high. How dare I, mere creature, guilty of abominable and despicable treason, taint the holiness of His throne room or the air around the righteousness of His scepter with vanity or sin? What an exhortation to love, fear, obey, and live for Jesus!

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Hebrews 1:8

Beware the Frustrated Fixation

September 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Posted in The Fives | 2 Comments
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John, in a revelation like no other, had seen wondrous, dramatic, emotional, and frightening things. But he had also seen the partial unfolding of God’s miraculous plan of redemption. Completely fixated upon the idea of seeing the culmination of God’s will in Heaven and on Earth, he saw with great hope a book which would reveal even more of God’s glory to him. But, alas, his hope was turned to despair upon realizing that the book was bound with a seal, and that no one was worthy to open this seal!

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:2-3

John’s reaction was to break down weeping.

And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:4

Only a truly unique and a truly supreme being would be capable of breaking this seal and opening this book. He would have to be both Almighty and all-worthy God, while at the same time being perfect, sinless, and guiltless man. It seems to some a paradox beyond resolution. How easy it is for us to fall into sorrowing and hopelessness – to think that this world is spinning out of control and has us overmatched! How easily we weep in our fixation and false belief that the purposes of our God have somehow been frustrated.

One of the elders gave John the hint, but it wasn’t until he looked for himself that saw the divine solution: the One Who was both Lion of Judah and Lamb of God!

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Revelation 5:5-6

The purpose and will of God would not be frustrated, for this holy Lamb had been slain, yet He lived. He was truly worthy beyond measure – not only to take the book… not only to open the book… not only to unleash the judgments and fulfilled prophecies contained in the book… not only to induce the rightful worship which God alone deserves… but to sit upon the throne of the Most High! To rule and reign and to fulfill all the promises made from the beginning, to the glory of the Father and to the everlasting joy of all His people! Praise His name forever!

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Revelation 5:11-13

Waters of Grace

December 7, 2009 at 9:41 am | Posted in BiblicalSwimming, Ezekiel | 13 Comments
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One of my favorite activities is swimming. The Bible contains only five references to swimming that I can find. However, the biggest necessity for swimming – water – is abundant in the Scriptures. One of the most majestic pictures of water in the whole Bible is found in Ezekiel 47. There, the prophet Ezekiel is taken on a grand tour of the future area around the earthly throne of God, from which flow the waters of His grace. These waters form a mighty river, and bring refreshment, and heal sickness, and produce fruit.

I have devised an acrostic using the letters in the word “W.A.T.E.R.S.” for this S.W.I.M. (See What It Means) lesson to review some of the things we have learned about God’s miraculous waters of grace.

Waters are for W.ashing. God’s grace has a tremendous healing quality, illustrated in the way that clean waters flowing into a polluted stream can cleanse and heal the dirty waters. (Ezekiel 47:8-9)

Waters are A.llowed to go where they need to go. God’s grace always goes to the right place – the place where it is most needed, and where it will do the most good. God’s grace, like water, often seeks the “lowest” point. (Ezekiel 47:1-2)

Waters are for T.esting. Waters which are too high for wading present a test or an obstacle. God’s grace often brings us to places of difficulty so that we realize we need His help to go through. (Ezekiel 47:4-5)

Waters are for E.xercising. Swimming is one of the best activities for physical fitness, and exercising ourselves spiritually in God’s grace is where we gain the strength to grow in Christian maturity. (Ezekiel 47:5)

Waters are for R.efreshing. There’s something bracing and stimulating about cold water on your feet when you are hot and tired. God’s grace often comes to us slowly so that we may test the temperature of our surroundings, and to remind us of the need for having clean and holy feet as we order our steps in His path. (Ezekiel 47:3-4)

Waters have a S.ource. When we find an area of water, it will typically have been brought there by a flowing stream, rain from above, or springs from below. Our omnipresent God is everywhere at once, and, when we experience His wonderful grace, we must remember to seek the Source of that grace, and to draw near to Him. (Ezekiel 47:5-6)

The Grace of Running Water

September 18, 2009 at 8:25 am | Posted in BiblicalSwimming, Ezekiel | 7 Comments
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When Ezekiel was given the vision of God’s healing waters, he noticed that some of the waters were running out from the “right” side of the altar.

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

Ezekiel 47:1-2

This meant that some of the waters were flowing on the right hand, as opposed to the left hand, side, from Ezekiel’s point of view. However, we also use the word “right” to refer to something that is “correct” or “proper.” Therefore, we may take these verses as reminders that God’s grace, like running water, if not impeded by some barrier, will naturally go where it needs to go. In fact, water will seek the lowest level. The place where people are at their lowest, where they are most in need of help, and often where they are most desperate, is when they realize they are mired in sin. A person’s “lowest place” is the place where he is most in need of God’s grace, and, like the waters in Ezekiel’s vision, God’s grace always goes to the “right” place.

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