Saturday, November 08, 2014

Fear of the Lord

I was reading these verses today and really encouraged and challenged to live in the fear of the Lord.
And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:10

How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. Psalm 128:1

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened. Proverbs 10:27

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death. Proverbs 14:26-27

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord Than great treasure and turmoil with it. Proverbs 15:16

The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility. Proverbs 15:33

By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil. Proverbs 16:6

The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. Proverbs 19:23

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. Proverbs 23:17

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear. Isaiah 11:2-3

The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure. Isaiah 33:5-6
So what are the benefits of living in the fear of the Lord? Wisdom, hatred of evil, understanding, blessing, hatred of pride and arrogance, knowledge, longer life, strong confidence, refuge, life, avoid snares of death, joy, good rest, riches, honor, lack of envy toward the wicked, decisions made based on His wisdom, stability, and treasures.

My prayer is God would help me fear Him more and more every day so that I would honor Him and reap all of these amazing benefits of living for His fame.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I am second?

You may have seen those videos going around Facebook from people saying, "I am second". If you haven't, from the two or three that I've watched over the course of my life, they are talking about prioritizing God and others. But really, we are not "second"... we are far further than the list than "second". I was reading Romans 12 in light of the end of Romans 11 this evening...
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As I read this passage, I see that we are to present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice. This moves us down to 2nd because we are living for God. Then we read on, we are told not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Reading on, we see that we are given gifts to be used to serve others. In fact, it seems to imply (and we know from Philippians 2:3) that we are not actually second, we are actually last! We are to give preference to one another, we are to serve the Lord as we serve others. We are to rejoice... not just for our own reasons, but to celebrate with others and share in their joys. We are to weep with those that weep... to put aside ourselves for their benefit. Lest we think that we are not actually called to be "last", we are even told to give food and drink to our enemies and be good to them.

Jesus showed by His example and then told His disciples in Matthew 23:11 that the greatest in the Kingdom will be the servant of all. May God give us grace to put ourselves aside... to put aside the ever pressing desire to be "first", and give us hearts to put Him in first place and everyone else before ourselves for His glory. May He give us true hearts of greatness!

Monday, June 30, 2014

When He is Sought

It has been far too long since I have taken the time to write here. I've been thinking this evening about what it means to be seeking the Lord with all of my heart. It is something that we are supposed to do at all times and yet, it is so easy to seek Him with parts of my heart. As Pastor Tim said several years ago, our hearts are idol factories. God has given us good things in life to pursue for His glory and what it joy it is to pursue them when He is kept at the center! It is when He becomes secondary that we run into big problems. It is so easy to take what He meant for His glory and use it for personal gain--especially since what He desires to be for His glory is also for our good! I was readings several passages this evening and have been reminded of this:
Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.”

So now, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God so that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.

He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God.

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”

The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord.

Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.

Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all things.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.

So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, “Seek Me that you may live.

Seek the Lord, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.

The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will also go.”

So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
I highly recommend reading these in context, but it is clear from all these examples in scripture that there is huge blessing when we seek the Lord with all of our hearts... in fact, He promises to be found by us when we seek Him with all of our hearts. We will always go the wrong way when we do not seek Him! We naturally do the things that are not pleasing to Him. But what a blessing it is that we can have a personal relationship with the God of all the earth! We don't serve a God that is far off, but One who has given us direct access to Himself through the blood of Christ! He longs to be near to us an for us to be near to Him! May we continually seek Him with humility and submit ourselves fully to Him.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Cost

This week has been crazy. I don't think I've worked so many hours in one week ever, though I have nothing to complain about. I know many people personally that work more hours than I did this week just about every week of their life. God didn't establish 40 hours as a work week (though I like that number for the sake of having time to spend with family and do ministry). It's been nice to slow down a little bit. The carpet was installed in the house today and there were little issues here and there... the hammer crushing the edge of the wood floor that I installed and carpet being a slightly different color along a seam... but in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. Got the saw out and cut out the piece of wood that was damaged and got it replaced. I need to follow up tomorrow about the carpet color issue and see if there is anything we can do about that. I feel so blessed though... I mean really... having this nice carpet when so many don't even have a home, or if they do... have the cheapest carpet out there that is 15 yrs old... I feel blessed and really have no complaints (though I hope they do fix it if possible).

I was reading tonight in Proverbs 7 and the end of verse 23 caught my attention. This is not a "fun" proverb. This section of it is talking specifically about a young man who gives gives in to the temptation to sin with the enticing of a flattering woman. That is where verse 23 comes in...
So he does not know that it will cost him his life.
So many of us may not fall in this manner... but don't just assume that you won't. I don't assume that I won't. Our walk with the Lord is a daily, moment-by-moment thing. Too often we do the equivalent of calling Abraham our father like the Jewish people were doing and using that as "fire insurance". You are saved by the grace of God? Great! So walk in Him! I can think of person after person who I viewed as godly (in fact, I think they were godly) who fell into sin in this manner. This is not me casting judgement... this is me realizing that none of us are beyond that and looking to Proverbs 7 as a reminder of what the end of that path is--it is the way of death. Another proverb says, "the dead are there". By His grace, may we walk wholeheartedly in the ways of the Lord!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Wrestling with God

The sermon today was very much what I needed. It was about God strengthening us in supernatural ways and our need to depend on Him and ask for that strengthening rather than trying to do things on our own strength. The Lord really took His Word and drove it deep into my heart and revealed areas in which I was not casting my cares fully on Him. I would bring them before Him in prayer but quickly go back to thinking about them in a sinful worried or anxious way. I wasn't actually leaving it all in His hands. After church today, I had like a two hour wrestling match with the Lord as I was praying. I kept finding myself going back to trying to work things out in my own mind and then fighting to release them fully to the Lord. I feel pathetic for it being so hard, but I'm thankful that the Lord didn't let me go without releasing it to Him and finding the peace that really does surpass understanding which is there to guard my mind and heart in Christ Jesus. The verse that comes to mind this evening is from Psalm 94:19...
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
What I need in these times is more of God. The more I think about and meditate on how great God is and how infinite His wisdom is, the more my anxiety and worry disappears. He is so worth trusting. The peace that He grants is so endless! He is good.