Radiance of Glory

Radiance of Glory

By Patricia Knight

Following sunrise, when the soft glow of early morning light filters through the labyrinth of tree branches, an ambience of autumn aroma and activity disseminates. As crisp, dead leaves spontaneously flitter to earth, a gentle breeze rustles individual leaves, composing a barely audible tap of percussive rhythm. The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. Perfect in beauty, God shines forth (Psalm 50:1-2).

From a window, I view the close proximity of a border of trees. Brilliant red totally encompasses the maple tree, apparently placed in the front line of duty, embraced on all sides with multi-chromatic hardwood trees; a proliferation of conspicuously sublime rainbow colors. In the immediate foreground, a filigreed, green cedar tree is superimposed on the deeply layered, adorned forest, creating slices of autumn colors in profusion.

In the wide open spaces where hills meet the sky and valleys separate hills, there exists a seasonal panoramic view of the vivid color spectrum of autumn hues proclaimed across wide stretches of geography, affirming that our Creator specializes in magnanimous beauty. The illustrious saturation of colorful hues, like a distant patchwork quilt, is a grandiose proclamation of God’s power and glory. “The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12), figurative language expressing that God’s creation joins in effervescent praise to celebrate the magnificent beauty with which our Lord surrounds His people in the physical world He designed and created.

Oh, how the Lord lavishes us with His adorning beauty! In the sunlight, God’s sovereign palette accentuates a wide range of flame-colored autumn leaves, which from a distant perspective, appear to mingle with puffy white clouds dancing across the blue sky. God introduces astounding color to our daylight hours, followed by twinkling galaxies of stars draped across a nighttime ebony background. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).

God’s visible glory is always described in terms of brightness. Because this world’s beauty authenticates our Creator’s unique signature, all of earth is infused with His glory.

“The land was radiant with his {God’s} glory” (Ezekiel 43:2b).

There is neither time nor place where our Lord’s presence is not manifest in His handiwork. Let us glorify His majestic splendor with our praise of thanksgiving during every season of our lives!

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Moonbeams

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Moonbeams

By Patricia Knight

“The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another
and the stars another” (1 Corinthians 15:41).

The surprising advantage of living near a body of water is that whatever action occurs in the sky above—rainbows, storm clouds, or sunsets—often reflect into the mirror calm waters below. Because the two images can be so identical, one might wonder which scene is authentic and which one is an exact likeness.

There are occasions when we perceive we are witnessing the hand of God dipping His brush in His palette of heavenly colors to paint a panoramic view right before our eyes. A tranquil sky with dancing, white, fluffy clouds pierced by a flock of migrating geese; slices of arrow-shaped lightning bolts dividing black thunderheads; a double rainbow that weaves its arc among tall trees; all delight us with reciprocal images in the water. As if God’s beauty isn’t spectacular enough in the sky alone, our Creator pleasures us with simultaneous views in the water.  He alone creates shadows and reflections using variations of light which He spoke into existence at creation when the earth was originally shrouded in darkness (Genesis 1:3).

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness” (Genesis 1:16-18).

In the eerie shadows of a late autumn evening, the full moon birthed a celestial reflection of its radiant yellow image in the waters below. The limpid surface was strangely still, interrupted only by random wave movement, causing the moon’s impression to vacillate, alternately dividing into slithering segments, then re-uniting the quivering moonbeams into a lopsided circle.

Ushering in the duplicate full moon image was a dazzling path of moonlight superimposed on the surface of the water, extending like a bridge from one side of the cove to the other. The yellow beam shimmered as the dainty waves rippled in slow motion. Could the iridescence be moon dust directly filtered through the atmosphere from the lunar planet?

Reconfiguring the moon into a large, desultory ball, with segments oozing and bulging as the water gently rocked and rolled, the lake’s version was impressionistic. The original symmetrical roundness of the lunar orb divided irregularly like an onion sliced in random rings. First light, then deep, dark spaces shattered the yellow circle with narrow slivers and wiggly protrusions.

Slicing through the moonlit path emerged a solitary canoeist, a black silhouetted figure in the twilight. The canoeist and his paddle were resting in the stern as the skiff floated freely in the path of the moonbeam. Perhaps the canoeist was overwhelmed by the extravagance of the moment. Soon the craft and paddler were obscured from view, engulfed by the darkness outside the perimeter of the moonlit path.

As the full moon traveled its established orbit in space, the lake’s somewhat distorted, reflected image advanced closer toward the shoreline. While I pondered the unpredictable advance of the oscillating moon replica, it stealthily disappeared from sight. The moon methodically repositioned over the horizon, concluding the nocturnal, whimsical performance of the moon duet. Devoid of celestial light, sky and lake spontaneously merged, lowering a heavy curtain of darkness on the stage of the current night’s performance.

Oh, how magnificent is our Lord, who splashes His brilliant designs throughout our world! He choreographs the change of seasons and pops flowers from underground to bloom in elegant beauty. He crowns majestic mountaintops with melting snow, renewing streams and ponds below. Expansive canyons are formed when God carves out great chunks of earth. He controls the ocean’s waves by adjusting the rhythmic tug of the moon. How majestic is God’s name and greatly to be praised!

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 “The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

Would A “Loving” God Allow Anything Bad to Happen to His Creation?

Reblogged from CrossExamined.org.

Would a “Loving” God
Allow Anything Bad to Happen
to His Creation?

by

The “problem of evil” is often cited by unbelievers when they explain their disbelief: How could an all-powerful, all-loving God allow His created children to experience pain and suffering? In my latest book, God’s Crime Scene, I examine the problem of evil as one of eight pieces of evidence in the universe. Evil is often cited as a form of exculpating evidence, eliminating the reasonable inference of God’s existence. An ancient form of the problem is sometimes attributed to Epicurus:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

Read the rest here.

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Sunday Praise and Worship: Psalm 148

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Beloved, do you enjoy praising our Lord while you are reading one of the praise psalms? I sure do. Here is another Praise the Lord! psalm. This time all of creation is praising His holy Name. Isn’t that awesome to ponder? Please join me in singing this praise and worship psalm in your heart today.

Psalm 148

The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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Sunday Praise and Worship: Psalm 133

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I think it’s time for another Praise the Lord! psalm. But then, when isn’t it the right time to praise the Lord?

Psalm 133

Praise the Lord!

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.

Praise the Lord!


New King James Version (NKJV). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Wonders of the World

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Wonders of the World

By Patricia Knight

On a torrid day in August, with a steamy haze rising off the lake, it amazes me that the same body of water that solidly freezes into a two-foot block of ice in the winter has melted into a comfortable lake for swimming, just four months later. God produces wonders and miracles every day right before our eyes. Some of creation has become relinquished to common place, like the lake full of ice converting to the refreshing temperature we tend to expect in the summertime.  The whole scenario recurs every year without fail.  Our surprise level is often stunted with familiarity.

If God can pique our interest with the smaller observations of life, our hearts and minds are then prepared for more grandiose vistas. “The Lord has done great things and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3). Feast your eyes on the arch of a rainbow until the prism colors melt into the blue sky. Follow the reflection of a full moon on the surface of the lake as a single canoeist divides its yellow beam. The lake will come alive with waterfowl swimming in formation on a moonlit night. A skier slicing through the newly fallen snow throws powdery white fluff in an arc in his wake. Bright sunlight reflecting off the ice coating a tree branch deceives us into thinking there are diamonds close enough to harvest. An infant’s first smile melts the most unresponsive heart. Grasp the tiny fingers in your hand and feel the trust.

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A loving God has created all of the wonders of the world. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)  A gigantic waterfall tumbling over rocks and bending trees, has mighty, surging power. It enables us to think big thoughts. A slice of canyon wall in the afternoon sun reflects all the earth tones of God’s palette. In autumn, the chlorophyll drains from the monochromatic green leaves as God drenches His paint buckets of color throughout the forests. At a distance a large snow-capped mountain against an azure sky literally appears majestic purple.

We have only to gaze upon the wide-eyed excitement of a child to realize we may take for granted some of the beauty and wonder of this world. Have we lost our sense of astonishment? Do we allow ourselves to meditate on the marvels of God’s creation? God takes great delight in lavishing His gifts and creations upon His own as He advises us to become more like little children. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Jesus was particularly referring to adopting the faith of a child; one cannot have faith without wonder and fascination.

Matt-18-4-Child-Flowers-25--AMPA child would consider novel the lowly but symmetrical spider’s web implanted with diamond droplets after a rain or the simple entertainment provided by a dandelion blossom. Consider the concentration of a child trying to catch the drips on an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Youths watch the sun go down and the moon come up with intense interest. There is wonder and fascination at the grandeur of an eagle suspended in the air currents above. Chasing lightening bugs on a pitch-black night provides further exhilarating excitement.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). Lightening streaking across a black sky causes tingles to radiate up and down our spine as we recognize its power. Engage a child in a game of identifying animal shapes in the clouds. Clouds accommodate our play; they are constantly shifting and remodeling. Watch the honking geese flying south in a perfect “V” pattern.

Observe the striated, meandering layers of colors in a sunset. Listen to the sounds in the night. Many animals are nocturnal and roam while we cloister ourselves away in our houses. Open a window and listen to the night conversation.

“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:10).  God has created all of the beauty, magnificence, and power that comprises our world. He wants us to be attuned to our surroundings so that we can visualize Him through His creation.

As beautiful as our world is, God provides more astounding opulence and grandeur in heaven. God has fashioned streets of gold (Revelation 21:21). Illumination is supplied entirely by the glory of God (Revelation 21:23). We are only given short glimpses of heaven, for it is too magnificent to describe in earthly words. Frequently in His Word, God assures us heaven will be a place of splendor and majesty and holiness. We will know only goodness and purity. Awe and wonder will permeate our surroundings as we stand in God’s presence. What indescribable resplendence and glory! Heaven far out-strips our imaginative abilities. The beauty on earth is but an introduction of what the eternal experience of the believer will be. Riches and joy will last forever.

While we remain on earth, we have tremendous opportunity to not only see with our eyes, but to experience with our whole being, the beauty around us.  There is neither excuse nor substitute for ignoring the treasures in lovely words expressed, unique occasions experienced, and magnificent creations purposely placed in our paths.

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Investigate your surroundings. Admire beauty and accomplishment. Elevate happiness and joy. Make a practice of serving others with goodness and kindness. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your gentleness be evident to all (Philippians 4:4-5).

Regardless of the season of the year, God provides myriad opportunities for adventure.  Non-essential activities of each day can rapidly clutter our lives and demand time that needs to be allotted for indispensable worship and service for our Lord and Savior. Look to Him and He will provide the peace and joy so essential to every aspect of our lives.  God will open our eyes to the glory of His creation in the physical world. Whatever the experience, God will elevate it and enrich it so that we can see Him through every wonder of the world. From that point, worship ensues. The more time we spend in fellowship with the Creator of the world, the more we see Him in His creation. God is as near as His next handiwork.

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The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

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The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the works of His hands.
—Psalm 19:1

No matter how hard Satan tries,
he cannot dim the glory of Jesus.
People may close their eyes or turn their backs,
but neither of those actions
reduces Jesus’ divine nature.
—Woodrow Kroll