Category Archives: Encouragement

From glory to Glory

“I love you Stuart. Wherever you are, Godspeed.”

ESPN’s tribute at the passing of network anchor Stuart Scott tugged at the emotional strings that bind us together. In accepting an ESPY Jimmy V perseverance award last year, Stuart Scott told the audience: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.Rich Eisen, Hanna Storm, and others at ESPN, in tearful tribute spoke of their fellow worker with words of praise. They spoke of Stuart Scott’s work ethic, playful personality, devotion to his children and zest for life. They spoke of him in a way that draws us to examine Stuart Scott more, to inquire how, why and in what manner he lived. Eulogies are like that. In death, friends or loved ones are held in esteem for their qualities, and their character. The difference they’ve made in the world is measured simply by being who they were. They change us.

Some consider the concept of glory a purely transcendent one. Many seem to think of the glory of God as some dazzling radiance, or as some aura beyond our understanding. To add to the misunderstanding, popular worship songs often get glory theology wrong. Its origins are otherworldly, but glory, I would suggest, is a thing of which we are all well acquainted. Glory, to borrow from Stuart Scott, is about how you live, why you live and in what manner you live. The media people at ESPN clearly knew and testified of his glory. Perhaps the reason we don’t understand glory as well as we should is because the nature of glory is that it can only be properly appreciated in someone else. To glory in ourselves is to descend into conceit. Because of this, the preeminence of Christ is critical to the working of sanctification, which is the change experienced by followers of Christ into a reflection of His glory.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.  – 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB)

Apart from some aura or radiance, Henry Drummond, a Scottish evangelist from the 19th century, expressed the nature of glory in this way.

What is the “glory” of the Lord, and how can mortal man reflect it, and how can that act as an “impressed force” in moulding [sic] him to a nobler form? The word “glory” -the word which has to bear the weight of holding those “impressed forces”- is a stranger in current speech, and our first duty is to seek out its equivalent in working English. It suggests at first a radiance of some kind, something dazzling or glittering, some halo such as the old masters love to paint round the heads of their Ecce Homos. But that is paint, mere matter, the visible symbol of some unseen thing. What is that unseen thing? It is that of all unseen things the most radiant, the most beautiful, the most Divine, and that is Character. On earth, in Heaven, there is nothing so great, so glorious as this. The word has many meanings; in ethics it can have but one. Glory is character, and nothing less, and it can be nothing more. The earth is “full of the glory of the Lord,” because it is full of His character. The “Beauty of the Lord” is character. “The effulgence of His Glory” is character. “The Glory of the Only Begotten” is character, the character which is “fulness of grace and truth”. And when God told His people His name He simply gave them His character, His character which was Himself…”  – Henry Drummond, “The Formula of Sanctification

God is deserving of glory because His character is perfection itself. His glory befits His holiness. The atheist or agnostic has only reason and evidence to shoulder the burden of character. But for Godly followers, virtue is based upon the perfection of God’s character. Evidence of the LORD’s character is everywhere. As great a mark as Stuart Scott left by his character, Christ left a greater impression upon the whole world through those who mimic the character of Him called Saviour. As we inquire into the beauty of true character, as we seek virtue, as our understanding of God’s character deepens, in an unseen yet tangible way, we change from glory to Glory. Rich Eisen’s closing words said of Stuart Scott, “Wherever you are…” Beholding God’s Glory, knowing His character, our understanding changes from perceiving those who’ve passed on as being “who knows where” to “we know where”.

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Marriage TULIP

Another of my sons is headed to the marriage altar to lay down his life for his best friend. Perhaps this is an unusual way to phrase it, but in my experience it’s exactly what should happen to have an enduring marriage. My wife and I may be something of an anomaly for modern marriages, having been so for more than 30 years. So it seems as our young men leave and cleave I’ve considered what advice I could pass along to them.

As I was considering some marriage essentials the acronym TULIP came to mind (No, I really wasn’t drinking some Calvinist Kool-Aid at the time). These ideas are my own and it seems some like my marriage TULIP concept, and so I pass it on as it was given to me in the wish that it may help both those already married to consider a fresh perspective and those who are considering entering into marriage as points to deepen its meaning.

T = Trust – Is a rare and fragile commodity, more rare and fragile than I believe people understand. My own experience has shown that my feelings of betrayal, anger and disappointment on many occasions could have been averted had my trust been extended with greater care or more well placed. Trust should always be earned, and is devalued when it’s given away. One spouse should have the deep, abiding trust of the other; in a measure unmatched to other family members. Love grows on a foundation of trust and with that, loyalty.

U = Unity – This doesn’t mean uniformity. It doesn’t mean that marriage partners agree on everything. It doesn’t mean that one spouse does everything as the other spouse wants. It means that the bedrock principles of the marriage are inviolable. Remember that principles are foundational, preferences are subject to change. Unity comes when couples decide together which is which. It means that whenever there are arguments, that marriage partners agree, for example, never to let the sun go down on their wrath. Never go to bed angry with each other. In my opinion, the only miracle more profound than the miracle of “two becoming one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) in marriage is a life born again by the Spirit of God.

L = Love – This letter being at the middle of the word exemplifies love being at the center of every motive, every impulse in a marriage. Love is the power fueling the other qualities. Love trusts. Love unifies. Love expresses itself in creativity and imagination. Love is patient. Love is forgiveness and reconciliation.

I = Imagination – There comes a time in marriage, long after the newness and novelty of the ceremony and honeymoon have faded away, when the marriage partners have settled into a routine and married life becomes a drudgery, drab or boring. Never lose the dream and creativity in marriage. Give spontaneity its place. Never settle, but be engaged to win all over again the one you’ve married. Recall the wedding day and imagine.

P = Patience – The sprint to a wedding is brief. Marriages are marathons. The treasure of a marriage isn’t found in a day, but in the length of days. Marriage will teach an attentive student patience through delayed gratification and self-denial. Those who don’t understand this will learn frustration. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”, says Jesus (John 12:24, NASB) To have patience in marriage to bring about unity is to singularly fall and die to one’s own ego and independence.

Happy Birthday, Ted Kaczynski

Happy Birthday, Ted. It has been a long time. April 3, 1996 to be exact.

Thank you for some of your thoughts while in prison. Particularly these…

Kaczynski lamented never being able to accomplish three things to his satisfaction: building a crossbow that he could use for hunting, making a good pair of deerhide moccasins that would withstand the daily hikes he took on the rocky hillsides, and learning how to make fire consistently without using matches. He says he kept very busy and was happy with his solitary life. “One thing I found when living in the woods was that you get so that you don’t worry about the future, you don’t worry about dying, if things are good right now you think, ‘well, if I die next week, so that, things are good right now.’ I think it was Jane Austen who wrote in one of her novels that happiness is alwavs something that you are anticipating in the future, not something that you have right now. This isn’t always true. Perhaps it is true in civilization, but when you get out of the system and become re-adapted to a different way of life, happiness is often something that you have right now.

Thanks for the reminder. Happiness is about the now.