From Glory to Glory

 

Scripture: (2 Corinthians 3:18 NRSV) And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

 

( NASB)  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.

 

            (NIV)  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

( KJV)  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

            Once upon a time in the little town of Nichols there lived a troubled teen-age boy. He dropped out of High School and moved to Texas to form a Rock and Roll band. The Band like the rest of his life turned out to be a failure but the adventure changed his life. From Texas he moved to Colorado then as if lead by the Spirit of the Lord he returned to his small town finished High School and went on to college. I wish I could say that he lived happily ever after but sometimes a cycle is hard to get off of. The good news for us today is that no matter where we are in our opinion of ourselves there is always, and I will say it again, always hope when we put our trust in God.

            I am sure most of you know that the troubled teen was me and the year in Lubbock Texas was only one adventure of a lifetime of searching through time and space for what was lost in my soul. I moved to California, Arizona, I joined the army, I ran away with the Renaissance Faire. I was a corporate executive and a maintenance man. I have had my heart broken so many times and have the bad poetry to prove it. I have told you about how many different religions I have studied trying to find peace. I look back over my life and wonder how God must have shook His head at times when He looked down upon me. Then I know that His hand guides me through the trials and His Spirit never left me even when I was so far from Him. For whenever I would end up in trouble and call out to Him He would lift me up and take me back home again.

            It kind of reminded me of that old cartoon where that little creature would want to be something other then who he was and so Mr. Wizard would give in and give him his wish. It would not be long before the little guy would be calling out “Mr. Wizard help!” Then Mr. Wizard would say “Frizzle, frazzle, frizzle frome, time for this one to come home.” I get the idea that a lot of us have been out on that limb and knew that only God could bring us safely in. In fact someone reading this today might just be in a situation where you do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. Things might just seem to keep going from bad to worse. I just want to encourage you today with the testimony of what God has done, and is continuing to do in my life.

            God has given us the scripture verse above for this week’s encouragement for a couple of different reasons. First of all as you read it you saw how it talked about our unveiled faces. Before we can experience the fullness of His glory we need to take off the masks and get real with ourselves. Secondly you noticed how you beheld the glory of the Lord in your own face as if in a mirror. We reflect to the world the truth that is within us. We see in our own eyes in the mirror the hypocrisy and the weakness that threatens our faith. Then lastly and most important to us today is that idea of us actually getting better day by day, glory by glory.

            Lets start with the unveiled face. The text in 2nd Corinthians is discussing the account of Moses after he was in the presence of God on the mountain, and how his face radiated so much of the glory of God that he had to keep a veil over it as not to hurt the eyes of those looking at him. When you get a chance look up the details of this in the 34th chapter of Exodus around the 30-35th verses. What had happened is that Moses had a real encounter with the creator God and that encounter changed not only his life, it changed the way he looked. It changed the way other people looked at him. It changed the way he looked at himself. When Moses came out to talk to the people he would cover his face but when Moses went in to talk to God he could unveil his face in the presence of the living God. Sometimes we have symbolically veiled faces. We put on our “everything is all right face” even when its not. We put on our “leave me alone face” even when we need a friend. We put on our “angry face” when in fact we are hurt and maybe even a little scared. There are a thousand different faces that we put on and the funny part is some people do not even realize that they are doing it. They are the same people that continue to wear their masks when they go before the Lord in prayer. Perhaps you have heard them pray: “Dearest Heavenly Father, Thou Hast bestowed upon thee thy servant, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It is time that we got real with God. Look He knows what you think, there is sense in trying to be someone you are not when you are talking to Him. He knows all of your faults. He knows all of your weird passions. He knows all of your bad wishes for your enemies. He knows all of that and more and He still went and died upon that cross for you. He died on that cross so that you would not have to spend eternity in hell and He rose from the grave so that you would not have to experience hell upon this earth. You have been set free. Free to start fresh. Free to go forward. Free to live again, or maybe for the first time. You have been set free to experience the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit of God. So the next time you “behold your face in the mirror,” you can look past your failures, because they have been forgiven. You can look past your weakness because He is now your strength. You can look past even your own hypocrisy because that is where God is shining His glory in your heart of hearts.

            I gave a message about a year ago about how sometimes we go two steps forward and one step back but we are still going forward. Do not overlook the little victories. This is a daily battle that we are waging. And sometimes that battle is within our own heads. It is us against us. You might remember me talking about how we have a tendency to look at where we are in life and not be satisfied. By that I am not just talking about being financially satisfied but more on a spiritual level. There are two ways of looking at ourselves and both of them are sad. If you look at yourself as not being as far along on this road to being a “Godly man or woman” as you should be then you end up feeling defeated. Then if you look at yourself as “being there,” your pride has gotten the best of you and you are just fooling yourself. “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” It is grace. It is Jesus on the inside working on that outside that makes the difference in my life. When I ended up alone in Lubbock Texas I called out to God and he heard me. When I was alone again in Colorado, I called out to Him again and He brought me home. When I was hurting in college He comforted me. When I was broke and homeless He restored my life. Now I am most blessed among men. Oh I have a long, long way to go but the prize is squarely before me. The war is real and it is life and death. I think about my family members who are experiencing so much hell in their lives. Not because they have not accepted Jesus as their savior but because they are not following Him. Do you know what I mean? It is one thing to know that He is there for you; it is another thing all together to find out how He would have us live, then live that way. It is grace that takes us from where we were yesterday to where we can be tomorrow. I will end by trying to give an illustration of what I mean by having Jesus on the inside of you. Any one who has been reading these messages for any length of time will know how much I love the 14th chapter of John.                    

            (John 14:20 KJV)  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Okay, This is what I want both other people to see in me as well as me to see in myself when I look in the mirror. I want to see Jesus in the Father and me in Jesus and Jesus in me. Tony Evens gave this word picture I hope it helps give you a better idea of this theological foundation of faith. Take three envelopes and a slip of paper. The three envelopes are sized so that one will fit in the second and then the second will fit in the third. Now, on the piece of paper you write “Jesus.” Put that in the first envelope on which is written your name. Then put the envelope with your name written on it inside the next envelope on which is written the name “Jesus.” Take this “Jesus” envelope and put it inside the biggest envelope, write on it “God.” Now lets look at what we have got. There is Jesus inside of you, which is inside of Jesus, which is inside of God, Right? I think so. So in order for anything to get to you it is first going to have to go through God, then it will have to go through Jesus. And then even if it does get though God and Jesus to you, when it gets you, it is going to get a hand full of Jesus. I am telling you No weapon formed against you can prosper when you really let God change you from the inside out into the person of God that He has called you to be.

            So how can this knowledge be used to change your everyday life? First of all it should change your “outlook.” Seek first the things of God and you won’t end up being so disappointed by the things of the world. Secondly it should change your “in look.” Stop putting yourself down and realize that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Then finally if you really get a hold of this thing it will change your “look.”  When we come in contact with Him and get in the presence of His glory, when we allow His glory to be manifested within us the world will see the difference. When we truly get baptized by the Holy Spirit of God we will not look like we have been baptized in pickle juice, but the Spirit of the Lord will shine. Give all of your cares over to God. Trust Him with your eternal soul. If you have never asked Jesus to come into your heart then simple pray this prayer with me: Father God, Forgive me. I am a sinner and I need a savior. You Jesus are the only way of salvation. I accept you as not only my savior but as my Lord. Come into my heart. Be that center portion of my life. I invite the Holy Spirit of God to fill me with the presence of His being. Baptize me with love. I am now a born again Christian and I am forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for me on Calvary. I am Free to serve. Thank you Lord God. Guide me every day of my life for all eternity, world without end amen.           

 

            Now lets go ahead and take bold steps forward going from glory to glory in Jesus name amen