For His Great Name

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.  ~ Psalm 29:2

   Many people have traced the story-line of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, showing God’s great plan to redeem His people. But, what if that’s not God’s ultimate mission? What if He has a bigger plan in mind than saving us? What if, His plan is to glorify Himself? 

   “Wait a minute!” you say. “What do you mean? Do you mean to say that God’s sole purpose is to glorify Himself?” Here are a few verses in which God says this

For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.  ~ Isaiah 48:9-11

    (When God talks about His namesake, He is referring to the glory given to Himself. This can also be thought of as making His name great or famous.)   

   Ok. But, what about all those stories in the Bible?  What about the ten plagues – especially the tenth one? What about Pharaoh and all his men who drowned in the Red Sea?

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. ~ Exodus 14:4

Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. ~ Exodus 14:31
   Through the exile of the Jewish nation, God was also glorified. How did this happen? God tells Ezekiel why He was ending the Jewish exile … 
 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.         ~Ezekiel 36:22-24
    All the miracles Jesus did – those brought God glory as well. We can’t forget how God was ultimately glorified: through Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. 
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” ~John 12: 27-28
   So, now we have come full circle. Why did God save us and is that His ultimate mission? Why did God save sinners and adopt us into His family?
   Was it to save us from hell? Was it to restore our fellowship with Him? Or to allow us to live with Him forever?  No. Although these things do happen when we trust in Christ, He saved us to bring Himself Glory!
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  ~ Ephesians 1: 4-6
    Now, you might be thinking, “Is God being selfish in wanting all this glory? Is it wrong for this to be His mission?” The answer to both of those questions is NO. He is God. He is holy. He is perfect. So, first of all, He can’t do anything wrong. 

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” ~ Isaiah 6:8

   Second, He deserves all the glory and praise we can ever give Him. He created the world out of nothing! He is the rightful ruler of all.

Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, Lord, and you are exalted as head above allBoth riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.  ~ 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

   What do we do about this? He has saved us in order that we might bring Him glory. What a responsibility that gives us. We should live our lives with the purpose to glorify Him and to make His name great! Our reaction to God’s grace should be a deep desire to tell others about Him and to spread His fame around the world. Jesus said … 

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20a
   What a huge and brilliant task! How will we ever get this job done? 
   Thankfully, God has not given us an impossible task. I left off the last part of the verse from Matthew 28:20. It says, 
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
~Matthew 28:20b
  God will give us the strength to finish the race He has set before us. He will always be with us no matter what. We can trust Him! He will win! 
 They [the beast and the ten kings] will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
~Revelation 17:14

Identity – A Battle Fought and Won

Around church, youth group, and youth bible studies you hear a great deal about identity, why it’s important, and who or what we should put our identity in.

When I was in middle school, I wondered, “Why does everybody make such a big deal out of this?” I knew it was important, but growing up in the church I had always known that my identity should be in Christ – why stress the fact now?

So, I went to Sunday school and listened to people talk about identity. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was storing away in my mind the verses and thoughts that the leaders were bringing up in class.

One night, about a quarter of the way through ninth grade, while I was getting ready for bed, I looked at my face in the mirror. I really looked at it. Now, that might seem strange to you, but I did. Then I wondered,

“Is this who I really am? What happened to the little girl I see in my pictures from a few years ago? Am I still that girl? If I’m not, then who am I?”

And then it came to me – all that I had been taught at church and in Sunday school.

“I am a child of the King. I was bought with a price. It doesn’t matter what I look like or how old I am – God loves me just the way I am. He sent His son to die for my sins.

“I can find my identity in HIM and not anything else I do. I don’t have to put my identity in the sports that I play, the way I look, or even the talents that I have. All these things will, eventually, fade away. But, Christ will never fade away – He will last forever!”

“God has a plan and a purpose for me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. I am His and He is mine. I was bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

All that crossed my mind. Then I smiled,

“Thank you, Lord, for impressing Your word onto my heart. Thank You for those whom You have put in my life to teach me what Your word says.”

I wrote this poem because of that wonderful experience I had and I hope that it is encouraging to you as well. (Note that although this poem was written from a young woman’s point of view, it can be applicable for people of any age or gender.)

The Woman I Created You to Be

Who is that in the mirror,
Staring back at me?
She looks familiar, yet a stranger.
Is it me? It can’t be.
I’m not that old…
Am I?

It’s not who I remember being.
Not who I once was.
But now I’ve changed, matured,
Different from that little girl
Who I was before.

Yet, I still have my dreams,
My passions, my doubts,
And my fears.
But even those have changed,
Throughout the years.

Am I young, or am I old?
This question can plague
A person if they let it.
If I’m not like the little ones,
Who am I like?

But, does it matter,
In light of who I really am?
No, it does not matter!
I’m a child of the King!
Bought with a price,
My identity is in Christ!

Part of me says
“I don’t want to change!
Wasn’t it nice being young?”
But God says
“I’ve got you. Trust me.
I will use this time,
In your life, to make you
What I designed you to be.
A witness to the world
About my love to all the nations.

“If you put your hope, your trust,
Your identity in Me –
I will fulfill you more than anything
This world can offer.

“I want the best for you.
Put your trust in Me.
I made you.
I love you just the way you are,
And nothing in this
Universe can change that!

“If you trust me,
I can grow you,
Change you into the woman
I created you to be.”


For His Great Name