Monday, September 30, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ The Scale of Truth in Love

          One of the things I do not like about bathroom scales is that they are so revealing. I don’t only mean that they reveal my weight, which is rarely what I would like it to be; but they also reveal that I feel better about weighing myself when I have been a “good boy”, and worse about weighing myself when I have been a “bad boy”.

          Which reminds me of the church. The church is designed like a scale that tells us how we are doing (the speaking-truth-in-love kind of thing). Because we are growing up to be like Jesus, there is always some kind of improvement going on. The church fellowship is the positive family measure that keeps our eyes focused on where we are heading from wherever we are beginning.

          However, the truth-in-love scale of the church has a way of exposing that many children of God fear the light of church fellowship when they are “doing poorly”, and feel safe with church fellowship only when they are “doing okay”. This is the residue of both the law, and the sinful world we have left behind. It is also the result of a whole host of painful experiences that have proven that we are safer with people when we are measuring up to whatever standards they expect than when we are failing to keep up to group-expectations.

          One of the wonderful gifts of God’s grace is to teach God’s children that we are just as loved when we are doing poorly as when we are doing well. In fact, the Bible comes right out and declares, in God’s own words, that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”[1]

          A summary of the Bible’s teaching on the love of God for his children has to include that this love predates time, that it never fails, that God’s love never changes, it is everlasting, and it accomplishes all that it has set out to do. The reason that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, is because it is the love of God we are dealing with. Any other love fails, but God’s love endures forever, and the recipients of this love remain in this love forever.

          Now, while God displaying his love for us while we were still sinners is central to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is often a sadly lacking ingredient in the daily experience of some of God’s children. I point this out (kind of like a scale identifying an area of concern), just to weigh in on the side of encouraging us who fear exposure of how poorly we are doing that Jesus expressed the love of God to us on the cross, while we were doing our worst as unregenerate sinners.

          If nothing else, please accept that God has you on a journey where it is his own mission to bring you to the conscious experience of his eternal love that has already proven itself while you were a sinner, and now delights to continue proving itself to you as an adopted, eternally loved child of God.

          Along with this, believe God’s word that, no matter how many bad church experiences any of us have had, Jesus is still building his church somewhere in our world, and we can trust him to fill us up with the love we need to bear with other believers as they are growing up in Christ, even while he also fills those other believers up with the love they need to bear with us as we also grow “from one degree of glory to another”.[2]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Romans 5:8
[2] II Corinthians 3:18

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings ~ Turning the Tables on Depression

          I’m feeling a little bit ticked-off at depression right now.

          It bothers me that, when people get depressed, we don’t question Satan’s character and wonder how such a being could turn away from the glory of God and set out to cause so much heartless, ruthless pain to the creatures God made in his own image. Instead, we question God’s character, as if it is his love that has grown cold, and his arm too short to save, and his memory that has lost track of us, and his heavens that are sealed by a titanium shell of self-protection.

          It bothers me that, when people get depressed, we have no problems turning to food for comfort, filling ourselves up with the most unhealthy food-samplings the world has to offer, without ever complaining that these companies are preying on people’s deficiencies of body, soul, and spirit, in order to promote and encourage bondage to health corrupting chemicals. At the same time, we think we have every reason to complain against the bread of heaven that would satisfy our deepest hunger, and the spring of living water that would quench our greatest thirst.

          It bothers me that, when people get depressed, we suddenly have time for any kind of music the world has to offer, any kind of video games that captivate and destroy relationships with God and people, any kind of movies no matter how damaging they are to heart and soul, and any kind of technological time-wasters that steal, kill and destroy faith. At the same time, we believe that depression is such a big and terrible giant in the land that we are helpless to fit in time for God.

          It bothers me that, when people get depressed, we don’t feel any anger towards sugar, or fat, or smokes, or tattoos, or drugs, or alcohol, or bars, or advertisers, or musicians, or actors, or bad company, but we suddenly feel anger towards God that justifies our lack of anger towards the enemies of God.

          I guess the bottom line for me is that there is something wrong when we believe that depression gives us some kind of reason to be numb from God, numb from bringing our pain to God, but not feeling numb about doing things our own way, or replaying our hopeless stories over and over again in our heads and hearts. Even the prodigal son eventually came to his senses and preferred his view of his father, incomplete as it was, to the pig-slop he was wallowing in without any satisfaction to his own hunger.

          I just wonder why it is that, when we get depressed, we don’t feel this irresistible urge to find our delight in God instead of in food, or entertainment, or solitary confinement. Why not God-confinement? Why not God-seeking? Why not resting like a child in God’s arms rather than resting in the arms of a drive-thru window? Why not calling Satan the liar and God the one unchanging source of truth and hope? Why not call the world a disgusting enemy of the soul, quite willing to destroy our lives on the altar of its idolatry, and call God the friend of the brokenhearted who heals us and binds up our wounds?

          Why not complain about the emptiness of the world that has had centuries of time to prove how hopeless it is, and how dishonest, and how fleeting, and deceptive, and disappointing it has been, and look up through the clouds to the one who is seated on the throne and thank him that he has yet to give up on such a sorry-mess of people who think so small of him that we would rather have a big old hamburger than the bread of heaven that gives life to our souls?

          Why am I feeling this way? Because depression is a joy-stealer. It is a wolf taking away my sheep. It is a lion dragging away the little lambs. It is a Goliath taunting whole churches into fear and trembling so that no one dares to take up five smooth stones to finish off him and his brothers.

          This week I have just discovered that I have the resources of the whole host of heaven ready to speak to me in my depression, ready to speak into whatever trial and heartache the church is facing, and tell me the truth about reality. While my depressed soul, cheered on by a depressing world, and encouraged by my own deceived and dishonest flesh, thinks that everything I think, see, and feel, is reality, and a hopeless enough reality that I want to sit in silence and disappear into the nothingness I believe, the heavenly throne room tells me that there is such a glorious One sitting on the throne that a ray of light shining from his glory would dispel depression and banish it from the Promised Land for as long, and as often, as a few people are willing to keep on walking in the light.

          The heavenly throne room tells me that I have four friends in these living creatures that never cease to tell me the truth about God, that he is holy, that he is eternally holy, and that he is worthy of depressed hearts becoming those true worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth.

          The heavenly throne room tells me that I have twenty-four elders surrounding the throne of God, representing the depressed people of God before the one who sits on the throne, and representing back to the depressed people of God the glory of the one who lives forever and ever. These twenty-four elders are ruling and reigning with Christ, delighting in him, overwhelmed by his glory, and appealing to us with their testimony to fix our eyes on heavenly things, not on earthly things. These twenty-four elders include the hosts of witnesses who have gone before us, and now line the racecourse with their testimony of the glory of God, hoping, trying, and seeking to build us up in the most holy faith, so that we will shine to the glory of God.

          What is the common-thread issue in depression? That right now I believe that what is going on with me is beyond God, and so I take it into myself, my flesh, and harbor all manner of thoughts against the one person who can help me. I believe the world without difficultly, but believe that I cannot believe God. I trust my flesh is telling me the truth, but believe that the God of truth cannot be trusted. I believe the devil must be right to question everything God says, while I don’t realize that I am trusting everything the devil says about the one person who can only say what is true, for he is the way, the truth, and the life.

          While there is no doubt that there are contributors to depression from the worlds of body, soul and spirit, there is also no doubt that there is a cure to depression in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. No matter how hopeless someone believes their depression to be, this is simply the next thing to bring to God as the body of Christ that is determined to surround all God’s people with the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

          So, here is my contribution, my one smooth stone aimed at the giant’s head, trusting that God is bigger than depression, and the God who enabled a little shepherd boy to cut off the head of the giant with the sword the giant kindly provided, can turn depression on its head, so to speak, and bring good news to the poor”, “bind up the brokenhearted,” “proclaim liberty to the captives,” open “the prison to those who are bound”, “proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, proclaim “the day of vengeance of our God,” “to comfort all who mourn,” to give to those who mourn, “a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,” to anoint them with “the oil of gladness instead of mourning,” to put on them “the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.”[1]

          Please join me in being ticked-off at fast food outlets, and TV sets, and online entertainment, and fickle friends, and booze, and drugs, and money, and fancy clothes, and new toys, and pornography, and the world, and the flesh, and the devil, and let’s put our depression into the hands of the God who can actually lead us into the truth so that what is broken is built-up, what is ruined is repaired, what is wounded is healed, and what is confused is brought into the fear of the Lord that sets us on our way into wisdom and knowledge.

          At the very least, don’t go believing whatever depression tells you! After all, we don’t even know who this guy is and where he comes from! Go to the one the four living creatures never cease to worship as holy, and the twenty-four elders never cease to worship as worthy, and see if there might just be some way that God could surprise you with a gift of grace that your sight-seeing depression simply could never have imagined.

          From my heart,


[1] Isaiah 61:1-3

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ When the Kings of Creation Worship the King Who Created

They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”[1]

          Because the book of Revelation is such a concise and condensed summary of all the rest of Scripture, it is fascinating to consider God’s choice of words in describing what he revealed to John. It is as if every word awaits the cursor of our minds to right-click and discover what other wonders are waiting to be revealed to those who wait upon the Lord.

          With that in mind, I was drawn to consider why the wonder-filled worship of the twenty-four elders focused on, “for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Such a short collection of words has to be the ultimate summary of worship, and the very best thing for the church to hear from these elders during discouraging times of persecution.

          Since the book of Revelation is not a generic glimpse through the windows of heaven, but a determined, strategic revelation of God to Jesus’ servants, there has to be a way that our worship of God as Creator will get us through anything the world, the flesh, and the devil strategize against us. In fact, the focus on God as Creator does exactly that.

          Throughout Scripture, the number one enemy of God is idolatry. It is the consistent theme of revelation from one end of the Bible to the other. No matter how we describe it, and no matter how much the red dragon is behind every idolatrous expression, the fact remains that we are always serving either God or idols.

          The foolishness of turning to idols is that they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.[2] Every single idol is a created thing. It does not matter whether it is an idol-figure created by a master-sculptor, the worship of chemical-induced experiences (drug addictions and alcoholism), the worship of the human body (ours or someone else’s), the love of money and the coveting of all the things we want to buy with money, or any other way we would describe the golden calves that replace God, all idolatry is the worship of something created rather than worshiping the Creator.

          Times of persecution increase the temptation to worship the creature rather than the Creator. Early Christians could save their lives by worshiping the Emperor. Daniel could be spared the lions’ den if he would worship the king. Stephen could be spared martyrdom if he would worship the religion of man, and the men who created it. Christians of our day would be spared persecution if they would worship in religions created by creatures, rather than stand firm in the one relationship with God that gives everlasting life.

          While there is much more that could be said about this, the summary declaration of the twenty-four elders, the kingdom and priests[3] of God Almighty, is a testimony to you today that God alone is worthy “to receive glory and honor and power.” Do not be afraid of creatures or created things, nor give them your worship. Instead, “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.[4]

          After all, “…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”[5]
          From my heart,




© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Revelation 4:10-11
[2] Romans 1:25
[3] “and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)  “and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:6);  “and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10)
[4] I Corinthians 10:31
[5] I Peter 2:9

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pastoral Pings (Plus) ~ When the Body of Christ Fights Off Depression

          There are times when some of God’s people are so overwhelmed with feelings of depression that the body of Christ must do for them what they seem unable to do for themselves. It is obviously to God’s glory that we bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of love in Christ Jesus.[1] Therefore, we can bear the burden of depression in one member of the body by making up for what they lack through our own activity in relationship with God.[2]

          In a sense, we can be like the four friends of the paralyzed man who are so determined to have Jesus heal our friend that we will dig through the roof of whatever is in the way in order to make sure that our beloved is dropped smack-dab in the middle of the activity of Jesus Christ our Lord.[3] I trust that we can see the parallel between physical paralysis and the emotional paralysis we call depression; and so I trust we can also see the parallel between four friends bringing the paralyzed man to Jesus, and the body of Christ bringing the emotionally-paralyzed to Jesus.

          One way of doing this is through our intercession. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us,[4] and we are able to join this work by making intercession for one another.[5] This simply means that we talk to our heavenly Father on behalf of our depressed loved ones in all the ways that these people are unable to pray for themselves.

          This morning God gave me a gift of encouragement by showing me one way I can pray for those in the family of God who are overwhelmed with the loss of feeling we often call depression. It is based on this expression of praise from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.[6]

          As I meditated on this passage with reference to the worship of the Elders in Revelation 4, I realized that the gift of life we have been given in Christ includes the gift of feeling the joy of Jesus Christ. I also realized that, if God did such a great work as this in raising his children from the dead and seating us with Christ in heavenly places, he can surely lift his people out of their depression and fill them with that joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”[7]

          The possibility of joy for God’s children is summarized like this: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.[8] Jesus made it clear that we could experience these two things, his joy in us, and our own joy filled to the full. When someone’s emotions are so suppressed, or depressed, that they cannot feel this joy, it is the Church’s right to pray for it to fill the whole body of Christ.

          This led me to pray this way for God’s people who struggle with depression (expecting that God will show us even more places where he is working in such a way):

          God in heaven, because you are rich in mercy, and because of the great love with which you have loved your children, I pray that you would do the same thing for those of your children who are in bondage to depression as you did for your children when we were dead in our trespasses and sins.

          I pray that you would express the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and raise this person’s feelings out of the paralysis of their depression. I pray that they would not only be alive together with Christ, but that they would so hear the words of Jesus speaking to their hearts that his joy would be in them, and their joy would be filled to the full.

          Holy Father, I ask that the same grace you poured out that brought this person to salvation would bring them to joy in Jesus Christ. I ask that the same grace that raised them up with Christ, and seated them with Christ in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, would now resurrect this person’s emotions to feel the joy of knowing you, and loving you, and walking in fellowship with you.

          Heavenly Father, I pray that this person would begin to feel the immeasurable riches of your grace extending another expression of your kindness towards them in Christ Jesus, so that they would find their hearts overwhelmed with feelings of joy, and wonder, and delight in the goodness and grace of God.

          And I pray, Father, that you would use me, and many other members of your body, to “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.[9] May you be glorified in your church as the body of Christ serves one another in love, even as our head, Jesus Christ, has so graciously and beautifully served us in love.

          I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen!

          If you see your need for help with depression, go to members of the body of Christ who are in your life, show them John 15:11, Jesus’ promise of joy, and ask them to pray with you that you would experience Jesus’ joy as a branch experiences the life of the vine.

          If you know that God is comforting you through his word and prayer, through your fellowship with God in the Holy Spirit, ask God to bring to mind people who need your part of the body of Christ praying out those things that they cannot pray for themselves. We can fully expect to see God glorify his name in answer to our prayers, and the level of joy rising in our churches, and in brokenhearted people, as God’s joy fills us to the full.

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
[2] As an example of one member of the body using his gifts to meet what was lacking in other members of the body: For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? (I Thessalonians 3 ~ Paul did not treat what was ‘lacking’ as a failure in the people, for he commended them strongly for what they were doing in the service to Christ and his church. However, he knew that he had something to give them from his place in the body of Christ, and so longed to share his gift and ministry with them for their encouragement and growth in the Lord.)
[3] 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.” (Luke 5 ~ see also vss 17-26 for the full account)
[4] “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
[5] “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” (I Timothy 2:1); “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
[6] Ephesians 2
[7] I Peter 1:8
[8] John 15:11
[9] II Corinthians 1:4

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ The Friendship of Justice and Kindness in the Faithfulness of God

          It all began with this description: “And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city.”[1] At this point, Ezekiel was watching another vision of God’s glory, this time returning to fill his temple. God had already envisioned coming in judgment to drive out the idols from his temple. He wanted his prophet to know that mercy would follow judgment, and the glory of God in one would be the same as the glory of God in the other.

          I believe this addresses the problem of people thinking that God is glorious in grace but not so much in justice. The vision of God’s glory is the same even though justice requires him to express his glory one way, and his grace requires him to express his glory another way. His glory is more glorious than Ezekiel’s descriptions could possibly contain.

          These thoughts led me to consider how God can put together what appear to be contradictory attributes in phrases like, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”[2] Justice seems like one thing, and kindness seems like another; so, how do we do both?

          The answer seems to be given in the revelations regarding Jesus’ second coming. When Jesus comes, his return will be with power and great glory”.[3] However, although the appearance of his power and great glory will look the same to everyone who is alive at the time, to those who have not received Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, his coming will be one of justice. In that regard, then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,[4] and will call, to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’”[5]

          On the other hand, the very same appearing of the very same Jesus in the very same expression of power and great glory will affect the children of God quite differently. For us it will be a visitation of kindness as Jesus sends out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.[6]

          The way God chooses when to show his glory in justice, and when to show his glory in kindness, or mercy, is based on what people are showing him. When the Israelites showed him the worship of false gods, he came to clean things up. When they showed him their repentance, he turned to them in kindness and mercy.

          The same God who expressed kindness toward Noah and his family because they walked with God in the righteousness of faith, also expressed his justice to the sinful world that refused more than a century of invitation to join in God’s work of salvation. We cannot understand the ark except that it speaks of the kindness of God in salvation while also speaking of a judgment that required such a salvation. God’s glory was the same in both his kindness and his justice.

          While Jesus’ sudden appearing will settle forever who are his, and who are not his, the children of God are to live every day in love with both justice and kindness. The glory of one is simply a different color of the spectrum from the other, but both are necessary expressions of the glory of God who is light.[7] Because he expresses his glory in both, we are to love both, as we walk humbly with our God.

          From my heart,


© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Ezekiel 43:3
[2] Micah 6:8
[3] Matthew 24:30
[4] Matthew 24:30
[5] Revelation 6:16-17
[6] Matthew 24:31
[7] “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings ~ The Gateway to God’s Glory

          I smiled when I read this Scripture this morning, “Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east.”[1] It was one of those times when I had been reading a passage over numerous times over a few days, but this time something stood out I hadn’t noticed. God was up to something, so he led Ezekiel into position, putting him right where he wanted him to be.

          The central thought in this sentence is, “he led me”. The connection between “he” and “me” is “led”. The activity of God in relation to a child of God is that the Father leads the child, the Shepherd leads the lamb, the head leads the body, the Firstborn leads his brothers. There is no way to have a different relationship than this, for it is the very nature of God being God, and us being man, that God is the one who leads.

          The rest of this sentence is specific to the event. However, it is based on a constant in God, that he leads his children. It is just what he does. He led Ezekiel to the gate to see the further activity of God, but he led Joseph through slavery and imprisonment to see something that God alone could do. He led Israel safely, but through the wilderness. He led Daniel safely, but through a lions’ den. He led Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego safely, but through the fiery furnace. Everything about God is that he leads us to places that are central to his will, central to his plans and purposes for his people.

          The significance of where God led Ezekiel, “to the gate, the gate facing east”, is whatever activity of God was going to happen there. In other words, God doesn’t lead us only for the sake of leading us, but he leads us for the sake of working something out for his glory, and for our good.

          In this case, it is what follows this description that explains why God led Ezekiel to this particular gate. God had already drawn Ezekiel’s attention to the north gate, where the priests were desecrating the temple of God with the addition of worship and sacrifice to idols.[2] God had already revealed that his presence had left the city of Jerusalem,[3] and that his glory was resting on “the mountain that is on the east side of the city”.[4]

          Paying attention to these directions helps us appreciate what else takes place. It also helps us appreciate that God is coordinating our present directions in keeping with past directions. As God let Joseph be sold as a slave, face false charges and the subsequent imprisonment, endure being forgotten in prison for two extra years, and then made him prime minister of Egypt so he could save his own family; and as God deliberately led Israel up to the Red Sea in order to glorify his name by delivering Israel and drowning Egypt in one fell swoop, as they say, so we can be sure that God’s present direction of activity fits into all his previous directions of activity.

          In this situation, God led Ezekiel to the gate facing east because that is where his glory was resting, on the mountain to the east of the city.[5] There is hope in this because God always knows where his glory is resting. Even if he has left one denomination or another because they have resisted, grieved, and quenched his Spirit, or left a location where a once vibrant church has lost its first love, his glory is somewhere, still working in the world, still inviting children of faith to keep in step with his Holy Spirit.

          This is clearly seen in the last of the letters to the seven churches. Jesus had rebuked the Laodicean church for being lukewarm. The church was proud of itself, as though it was a successful, prosperous church, when Jesus saw it as quite the opposite, a lukewarm church he was about to spew out of his mouth.[6] His glory had left the church some time back, and no one had noticed that they had replaced God’s glory with their own, with the idol of man-centered complacency.

          While Jesus calls the whole church to repentance, he leaves this invitation to his glory, something that any one of the people in that church could experience even if they alone were willing. In fact, Jesus told the church where his glory was. With his invitation he was leading them to the gate, actually, to the door that was facing in the direction of his glory. This is what he said: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.[7]

          Where was Jesus’ glory? On the other side of the church door. His words led people to that door, to their side of the door, to the inside of the door that kept Jesus on the outside. His glory would not enter an unwilling church, and so he knocked at their hearts. He sent words that could be heard by the heart of listening sheep.[8] He led them to the gate, the gate facing east (figuratively speaking), and showed them where his glory was resting after leaving their lukewarmness.

          For Ezekiel, the identification of God’s glory on the mountain to the east of the city was to invite him to see the rest of the picture: “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east.”[9]God wanted Ezekiel to see that the glory that had left was making its return. While there was judgment and woe on the horizon, it would be followed by the return of God’s glory.

          For the Laodicean church, the identification of God’s glory on the other side of the door was to invite them into the rest of the picture, that anyone could hear Jesus’ voice, open the door, and experience restored fellowship with their Savior.

          This is the wonder of God’s grace: he shows us where he is in his leaving so he can show us where he is in his coming. Whether this is showing a sinful people where he is after he moved away from their self-centered idolatry, or showing his confused disciples where he was going in his ascension, so that they knew where to look for him in his return, the grace of God continuously tells us where to find the glory of God.

          It does not matter whether we must come to Jesus in repentance for turning to the world, the flesh and the devil, or we must come to him in perseverance as we seek to keep in step with his Spirit, we know that God wants us to live every day in “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”[10]No wonder the Psalmist would write, You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’”[11]  

          The conclusion of the matter seems to be this: that if God leads us somewhere to see where his glory went, that we would want to be there to watch his glory return. If his glory left because of sin, then visiting and repenting of that sin would be the place to be so his glory will return. If his glory left because of worldly distractions (idolatry), then demolishing those idols would seem to be the best place to be right now, seeking the return of God’s glory to our hearts, or our churches. This has been the story of revivals, where people humbled themselves to find out why God’s glory was no longer among them, repented of all that God brought to mind, and experienced the activity of God blessing them once again.

          For each of us today, God’s word calls us to pay attention to whatever he is revealing about his glory. There is glory in the gospel, but it requires us to receive it. There is glory in the church, but it requires us to enter it. There is Christ in us, the hope of glory,[12] but we must receive Christ into us in order to enter into his glory.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.[13]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Ezekiel 34:1
[2] “3 He put out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. 4 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the valley.
5 Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, lift up your eyes now toward the north.’ So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and behold, north of the altar gate, in the entrance, was this image of jealousy.” (Ezekiel 8)
[3] Ezekiel 11
[4] 22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. 23 And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. 24 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen went up from me. 25 And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.” (Ezekiel 11)
[5] And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. (Ezekiel 11:23)
[6] 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3)
[7] Revelation 3:20
[8]My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
[9] Ezekiel 43:2
[10] II Corinthians 4:6
[11] Psalm 27:8
[12] Colossians 1:27
[13] John 10:7-9