Thursday, January 29, 2009

Praise

I believe that our purpose here on earth is to love Yahweh God, to obey Him and to glorify Him forever. Our purpose is not for our own happiness, but rather to serve and honor God. With this in mind, let us offer up praise to the Lord Yahweh, God our Heavenly Father, and to Yeshua Hamashia, Jesus, Who is God the Son. He alone (God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the triune God, three Persons yet one Being) is worthy of our praise.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!"
—Psalm 100:4

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High."
—Psalm 92:1

"I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music."
—Psalm 101:1

"Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
—Psalm 105:1-2

"Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!"
—Psalm 150:1-6

For the born-again (regenerated) Christian, who is made new in Christ, transformed and reborn, made into a new creature, God the Holy Spirit lives inside that person and, when that person spends intimate time with their Lord and walks in obedience to God, the Holy Spirit can fill up every part of that person's being, empowering that person to do only what is the will of God, and filling that person with an otherworldly joy that no unbeliever has ever experienced. Though sin will immediately quench the filling of the Holy Spirit, there is forgiveness (1 John 1:9), and that intimacy can once again be achieved by spending time with God. Though each and every one of us has sinned countless times against a perfectly pure, holy, righteous, awesome and fearful God, and though each and every one of us fully deserves to be punished terribly in hellfire and damnation for all eternity (for God's creation has rebelled and turned against Him), in His love, and for His glory, the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus the Messiah, God the Son, has come down to be born as one of the lowly creatures He created, and has suffered torture and even death for us, legally taking our place by dying in our place, the Son satisfying the wrath of the Father and drinking fully of the cup of the wrath of the Father, so that those whose names were chosen before the beginning of time will turn to Him and be trophies of His grace, mercy and love; while those who continue to rebel and mutiny against a holy, righteous God, and never accept the offered forgiveness of God, will nevertheless still bring glory to God by being examples of God's justice, and being instruments of God's wrath.

To Yahweh God we give praise, honor and thanksgiving. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, the three in one.


(I drew this in Adobe Illustrator. When I first uploaded it as a JPEG, it had a white bar on the left side. So now I have re-saved it as a JPEG from Photoshop, after cropping out the white vertical bar in Photoshop.

8 comments:

satire and theology said...

Jeff, your graphics are certainly good quality and 'stealable'.;)

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"Our purpose is not for our own happiness, but rather to serve and honor God"

If, as Piper suggests, God gets the greatest glory when we are truly happy, then maybe God did purpose for us to seek our happiness. Of course, Piper qualifies this, in agreement with the Scripture (esp. the Psalms), that our happiness is found only in relationship to God. If God is our Father (through faith in Christ), then for us to seek Him is, according to Piper, the same as our seeking our own happiness. And if it's true that our happiness is found only in relationship with God, then wouldn't He want us (even "purpose" us) to seek our happiness?

I'm sure you wouldn't disagree with this principle, properly understood (as stated above). But isn't this also a valid apologetical approach? If people are always seeking their happiness above all else, and either Socrates or Aristotle (I forget which) "proved" that this is the case, then isn't it a valid and worthy apologetical tool not to fight this reality but to show them that their only true happiness is found in God?

I know you don't try to cover every "base" in what you write (who could possibly do that?); so that's what I'm here for--to "stir the pot", so-to-speak! :-)

(In Christian charity, of course!)

GGM

GGM

Jeff said...

Satire and Theology,

Thank you, Russ! As far as being 'stealable,' I hope no one does, unless they give me proper credit. I could put some sort of copyright on the images. Then again, these last few that I've done lately have only been for practice, just playing around, so I'm not all that concerned about them. The stuff that I do at work, which gets published, and which I spend much more time on and work on more seriously, I usually don't include on my blog site.

Jeff said...

GGM,

If, as Piper suggests, God gets the greatest glory when we are truly happy, then maybe God did purpose for us to seek our happiness. Of course, Piper qualifies this, in agreement with the Scripture (esp. the Psalms), that our happiness is found only in relationship to God. If God is our Father (through faith in Christ), then for us to seek Him is, according to Piper, the same as our seeking our own happiness. And if it's true that our happiness is found only in relationship with God, then wouldn't He want us (even "purpose" us) to seek our happiness?

First, I personally like to distinguish between happiness and joy. I generally define 'happiness' as that which depends upon circumstances. And, although the word 'joy' is used by the world to basically be the equivalent of happiness, I like to define true 'joy' as that which is otherworldly, and which can ONLY come from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, joy, as defined in this way, is not dependent upon circumstances. You can be in prison, or be tortured, and still have joy.

I have heard non-Christians say that our purpose in life is to be happy. It was basically in response to that that I wrote that which you quoted. However, you made an interesting point about that, and I'll get to that in a minute.

If, as Piper suggests, God gets the greatest glory when we are truly happy, then maybe God did purpose for us to seek our happiness.

OK, back to this sentence. As I defined the difference between 'happiness' and 'joy,' at least the way I like to separate the two words, if I replace the words 'happy' and 'happiness,' in your sentence above, with the word 'joy,' then I would agree with you. However, I would still say that, even using the word 'joy' as I have defined it, that is not God's greatest and ultimate purpose. I believe His ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself. Joy is merely a by-product which He gives us, because He is a loving and kind God. Therefore, I would say that God gets the greatest glory when we are truly joyful because, in order to be truly joyful, we have to be walking in His will, obeying Him, and spending intimate time with Him. So therefore, true joy is an indication of whether or not we are filled with the Holy Spirit at that moment (because I also believe that true joy only comes when you are filled with the Holy Spirit). Therefore, true joy can be used as a sort of measuring device or tool or indicator of how closely we are walking in obedience and fellowship with God.

But isn't this also a valid apologetical approach? If people are always seeking their happiness above all else, and either Socrates or Aristotle (I forget which) "proved" that this is the case, then isn't it a valid and worthy apologetical tool not to fight this reality but to show them that their only true happiness is found in God?

On the surface, I would think 'yes.' But really, I think that evangelists and televangelists already use that as a tool in evangelism, when they say that Jesus will make your life truly happy, or that only God can fill that vacuum in your life. Though this in itself is not false, it leaves out the necessity of repentance, sacrifice, commitment and dying to self, which are also part of being born again. We have to repent of our sin, die to the world and turn away from those things which are ungodly, and commit the rest of our life to serving Christ. Not by works, but by a surrendered heart, mind and attitude. Though the works will follow if regeneration has truly taken place.

Again, joy is a byproduct, but I don't think it should be used as a drawing card for salvation. The reason I don't think so is that the person may be led to believe that life should now be all rosy and happy and easy, and when trials and temptations come, they may think that they were misled and turn away from God. This leads people to come to Christ for the wrong reason, just as those crowds came to Jesus while He was on this earth, to get free food and healing, and when Jesus got more serious in His message, many left him. I knew one couple in a church I used to attend that would stand up and give praise to God because their teenage son was healed from cancer, but months later, when their son died, they left the church. Their faith was not in God, but in the healing.

I know you don't try to cover every "base" in what you write (who could possibly do that?); so that's what I'm here for--to "stir the pot", so-to-speak! :-)

Promoting discussion and thought is usually a good thing. And you have done it in a gentle and humble way, so you are welcome to stir!

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Obviously the way we define our terms is essential for our understanding and communication. I'm not sure if I would wholeheartedly agree with how you defined the terms "happiness" and "joy" (these terms have had their fair share of philosophical and biblical definitions throughout the history of language), but as your using them in this case, I can appreciate the distinction you make in the flow of your argument. I do think Piper's emphasis here is a subtle one that needs to be understood properly to get its full affect. God takes the most pleasure in our happiness (joy?) precisely because He is the source of it. And as such, our happiness (joy) glorifies Him because it manifests itself accordingly.

You say, "I believe His ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself"; and Piper would agree. His point, though, is that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." In this case, our (satisfaction) happiness (the happiness that comes from God) is what glorifies Him the most. Again, this is a subtle point and not without controversy. Piper has dealt with it for years! :-)

The way you've expanded on this in your comment, it sounds like we're in general agreement again. :-)

I agree with your hesitation on this as an apologetical method. It would probably be too difficult to make sure that we're being understood correctly for this to be of much benefit. You're right that "happiness" is not only over-played in Christian circles, but it is not always understood biblically and can lead to people thinking about the Christian life and experience in the wrong way.

Thanks for the interaction--I always enjoy it and am blessed by it.

GGM

thekingpin68 said...

Jeff, that is a reasonable 'happiness' and 'joy' distinction which I have come across more than once.

Thanks for the comments on my blogs.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Russ. And you're welcome for the comments. I'm sure I'll think of more.

Jeff said...

GGM,

Oops, I missed your comment.

Obviously the way we define our terms is essential for our understanding and communication.

Yes, and I think it is, generally speaking, at least part of the reason for many misunderstandings among human beings.

I'm not sure if I would wholeheartedly agree with how you defined the terms "happiness" and "joy"

Well, the English language is dynamic and always changing as far as definitions, and, since the same word can have more than one meaning, the fact that we don't fully agree on a precise definition should probably not be surprising. My definitions of those words are, as Russ stated, things that I have heard other Christians say before, and it is more a matter of my own preference, rather than a strict, 'official' definition.

God takes the most pleasure in our happiness (joy?) precisely because He is the source of it.

Yes, I think that is somewhat similar to what I was saying.

His point, though, is that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

I would probably agree, for reasons that I mentioned in my previous comment. When I have watched Piper on video/DVD, he seems to stress the idea of focusing on God/Christ, and that our greatest fulfillment and happiness/joy can only come from Him, and to this I would agree. And, after all, God is a God of fellowship, and when we are in true fellowship with God, there is joy (happiness).

The way you've expanded on this in your comment, it sounds like we're in general agreement again. :-)

Yes, I think so, and that is good.

I agree with your hesitation on this as an apologetical method. It would probably be too difficult to make sure that we're being understood correctly for this to be of much benefit. You're right that "happiness" is not only over-played in Christian circles, but it is not always understood biblically and can lead to people thinking about the Christian life and experience in the wrong way.

Yes. I have taken a "Way of the Master" course, and they stress the faults of modern evangelism, which includes what I was talking about. The danger is that this can often lead to false converts, which I have unfortunately seen first-hand. I have also talked face-to-face with unbelievers who have told me that they believe God will let them into Heaven without their accepting Christ, because after all, God is a loving and forgiving God.

Thanks for the interaction--I always enjoy it and am blessed by it.

You're welcome, and I'm glad! Thanks, Jason!