Posts Tagged ‘Fear God’

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“FEARING TO FEAR” – Dec 13

December 13, 2013

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Genesis 1:1

I gazed up at the night sky on my drive home from work the other day.  It was an incredible display – stars deep and bright posing a mysterious question that challenged exploration and elicited awe.  The fullness of the expanse shrunk the office entanglements that still clung to my consciousness.  The burdens and responsibilities of a small business owner failed to rise above the trivial when confronted by the breath and complexity of this natural world painted across the black canvas of a night sky.

YKDZSHOW2013_INFINITY-ROOM_VIEW-1_NO-TRIPOD_web-600x450(Image: Yayoi Kusama  I Who Have Arrived In Heaven )

I felt a familiar sense of fear as I gawked at that night sky.

The implications of creation that come from a clear night sky are daunting upon contemplation.  We live in a world of intricate detail and minute precision.  It is a world of impassable distances and staggering scale.  Our discoveries reveal how much we do not know or understand.  There are many theories of how all that surrounds us came to be.  Most of these theories demand a faith of the adherent that is greater than any religion.  They yield to these theories to avoid the natural response of the alternative.  The natural response to contemplating this world as the product of a Creator’s hand is trepidation.

lrargerich / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

The realization that we are not alone should be jarring.

The presence of a Creator diminishes all of the accomplishments of man.

The theories and physical laws of human intellects climbing the heights of knowledge appear as mere children’s stories in contrast to the knowledge of a Creator who caused the ordering of those laws.

We lay defenseless before a Creator who gave the sun its energy.

We are but grains of sand on a limitless beach when the timeless reach of an infinite Creator is considered.

A living and active God, who has the power to create, changes the world that we live in.

Who can stand before one such as He?
What strength must one have to contend with the One who has created?
What claim can be made of the One who is without peer?

j-dub1980(THANK YOU FOR 100k+ Views) / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Sanity demands a response of the created for their Creator.

Fear is the sane response to the power of the Creator of the scale and scope of our world.
Fear is the reasoned emotion to the incomprehensibility of the Creator who speaks matter into existence.
Fear of Him who created the heavens and earth should be what all people feel.

Thankfully, the created were not left in the uncertainty of the knowledge of a Creator’s existence, absent his character – that would be terrifying.

God has revealed himself throughout scripture.  He revealed Himself generally through His creation but specifically through His prophets, disciples, apostles and Son.  He has shown Himself to be a Creator who abounds in grace and mercy for those He has created.  He has proven Himself faithful even when His creation was unfaithful.  He has demonstrated patience in response to blasphemy.  He displayed the greatest love ever known.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  (John 3:16-17)

However, the revelation of the Creator through scripture begins with fear.  I do not think that it was happenstance that the first verse of the Bible proclaims God as the creator of the heavens and earth.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.  His praise endures forever!  (Psalm 111:10)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

All decisions begin with knowledge.  God wills us to be knowledgeable because true knowledge of the Creator leads to us to a savior.  I do not believe that a sane person who truly believes in creator God, who knows their unrighteousness, who has had their mind open to redemption of the blood of Christ on the cross, will ever reject the redemptive plan that the Creator knew when He hung the star of Bethlehem in the night sky.

The beginning of that journey to salvation begins with the fear of the Lord, the creator of heaven and earth.  Until we acknowledge God as creator, we will never be humbled enough to know Him as Lord and Savior.

The fear of the Lord is a precious gift.  The overwhelming awareness that we are in the presence of the magnificent God of the universe should humble us.

The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.  (Numbers 14:18)

The doorway to true worship is knowledge of who we are worshiping.  That doorway is latched with the fear of the Lord.  It will do us well to periodically come back to the beginning of faith, to be humble by the healthy fear of our Creator.

lrargerich / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

We are blessed to be diminished by the Creator of the night sky.

We need not fear to fear our Lord.  It is not a fear that causes us to flee.  It is a fear that beckons us to draw near.  Honest fear of the incomprehensible Father of heaven and earth ushers us into deep and meaningful worship of the Creator who saves and the incomprehensible extent of his mercy, grace, and love.

PRAYER: O Lord, you are great and greatly to be praised.  I stand before You humbled by the reality of your magnificence.  You are God, the One and only.  I will trust in You and not be shaken for You hold all the world in your hand.  I can rest in You alone because you are the creator.  Nothing is impossible for the One who has the power to breathe the breath of life.  Thank you for teaching me to fear You.  Thank you for using that knowledge to draw me to yourself.  You truly are glorified in all of your creation.  May you be glorified in me.  I praise you, O Lord.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

“The humility of wisdom is the happy consciousness that all things come from God, are sustained by God, and exist for God. This wisdom is rooted in the pride-destroying, joy-giving cross of Christ.”
~ John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

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“SILENCING CRITICS” – Oct 25

October 25, 2013

“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the Brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.”  1 Peter 2:15-17

Killjoy, prude, wet blanket, spoilsport, party pooper…

Christians have been called all of these words and many more.  We have been mocked in movies, television, and political speeches.  We have been cast as being repressed, oppressed and regressed.  Popular culture frequently paints the landscape of Christianity with rigid lines, stark geometry, and drab colors.

I hate the representation of my faith that is commonly presented in the current culture.  I feel so misunderstood when my hope becomes lumped in with religions of works.  I cringe when I see grains of truth twisted in the legalism of a fear of the world that does not demonstrate the freedom that I know in Christ.

I understand that secular society and the media are not friends of Christ.  What is our basis to expect them to be fair in their presentation of Christianity?  Why would I expect them to give a fair and balanced presentation of what I believe?  Much of what is shown in the realms of entertainment and journalism comes from the ignorance of people who have not had their eyes opened to the reality of the God of the Bible.

We can shout until we are blue in the face about the injustice of our image.
We can fight a media campaign to spin our message into the world.

I think that all those attempts will fail.  Peter tells us how to fight the good fight.  We will put all those naysayers to silence by doing one thing – doing good.

church_lady_could_it_be_satanSo much of our Christian lives are spent saying “no”.  Many are saying  “no” because they are afraid that there is a demon under every bush and if they don’t keep a prescribed set of rules they might be thrown with the chaff into hell.  That is not living in freedom.  That is not doing good by saying “yes”.

We are to live as people who are free.  A free persons does not say “no” to enticements from a fear of the world.  A free person’s abstinence from the things of the world is a “yes” to living as a servant of God.  Therefore, our lives should be awash in doing what all people will recognize as good from a motivation of freedom.  Our good works are to come from a joyful response of getting to serve God.  Our good works are a response of love.

That is how the ignorant portrayal of the followers of Christ will be silenced in this culture.

When our friends and neighbors fail to recognize what is presented by Hollywood as the Christians that they know, then they will reject the culture’s portrayal of a twisted and false faith.

The problem is that even I see truth presented in many of these derogatory manifestations of my faith.

Consider a world where followers of Christ were consistently living as free servants of God:

 

Honoring everyone:  Those offensive signs condemning the lost would be gone.  The rude and insensitive debates would vanish.  Honor everyone does not mean that we have to agree with everyone but it does mean that we follow the “golden rule” and treat others as we would like to be treated.

first-ame-church-lawsuit-against-former-pastor-p1-normalLoving the Brotherhood:  The incessant bickering amongst the followers of Christ would be replaced by loving debate and respectful disagreement.  We would not be in the courtrooms of the world having our disputes settled by common law rather than the Word of God.  I don’t have the answers to how we work through theological differences that do really matter but I know that we can do it so much better than it has been done.  We should be cognizant of the reality that a lost world is watching how we treat each other.  Why would they want to be part of a faith that espouses love but whose members can’t even love each other?

Q9Fearing God:  The high profile scandals of the tabloids would not include the children of God.  Christians do a lot of really stupid acts that earn the title of hypocrite and diminish the power that we profess.  I know that we are all on the road of sanctification.  We all stumble.  However, the colossal moral and public failures of Christians should be much rarer than they actually are.  If we all lived with more of a fear of displeasing our Father in heaven rather than pleasing ourselves, we will be a better representation of what we claim to believe.

Barack Obama / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Honor the emperor:  The vilification of political opponents would not be cast in the mantle of the Church.  There are few topics more divisive than religion and politics.  There is nothing more divisive that the combination of religion and politics.  I realize that we Christians should speak out for many of the moral affronts and persecution that governments do.

DonkeyHotey / Foter / CC BY-SA

The issue is how we do it.  President Obama should feel honored by the religious right even though he knows that they disagree with his direction.  Our Facebook pages and discussions should not be strewn with disrespectful and offensive caricatures of our leaders.  Our obedience to Christ should extend through all aspects of our lives, even honoring and praying for leaders we don’t agree with.

Just imagine if these characteristics were the common experience of the world for a person who professed Christ.  It sure seems like the ignorance of false representations would be silenced.

I would love to see that.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive us for not living as a servants of God like we should.  Father, do your work in me; fill my life with good works that come for a heart that just wants to serve You.  Help me to be honoring to everyone.  Help me love those brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I have disagreements.  Help me to fear you as I should.  Help me to honor and pray for all my leaders, especially the ones I don’t like.  Lord, be with your church.  May I be a part of a larger working of your Spirit that silences the ignorance of foolish people.  May the good works of a people set free in Christ be a beacon to a lost world.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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