Benefits of Fearing the Lord

As we talked about Tuesday, the Lord is to be feared; however, fear should not leave us cowering to the point that we are not able to approach Him. Hebrews 4.16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We should be able to approach God boldly, confidently, cheerfully, courageously, freely, and fearlessly with all assurance that He desires to hear our petitions. God wants to fellowship with us. However, we cannot approach Him like many children do their parents today—hateful, full of spite, and disrespect. He is God. We are to bow humbly before Him, showing great respect, fear, and awe because of who He is.  We should never demand anything from God. We can share our pains, needs, wants, desires, fears, questions, and concerns, but we do this from a heart that realizes His plan is perfect, He sees the bigger picture, He knows what is best for us, and what will give Him the most glory.

The fear of the Lord prohibits us from approaching God in a selfish, entitled manner. In Psalm 8.3-4 (ESV) David says, “When I look at 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, and the son of man that you care for him?”  His fear of the Lord kept everything in perspective. He is God and Creator; we are the created.

For years I have read the Proverb of the day. These daily readings have shaped my understanding of the fear of the Lord.  Here are a few verses that help us understand the benefits of fearing the Lord.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” (Pr. 1:7).

“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil…” (Pr. 8:13).

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Pr. 9:10).

“The fear of the LORD prolongs life…” (Pr 10:27).

“In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life that one may turn away from the snares of death” (Pr. 14:26-27).

“Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it” (Pr. 15.16).

“The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Pr. 15:33).

“The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” (Pr. 19:2).

Fear of the Lord brings knowledge, hatred of evil, wisdom, insight, prolongs life, confidence, is a fountain of life, is greater than treasure, and leads to a satisfied life. Things here may not always be easy; however, God is always faithful and one day will reward our faithfulness in fearing Him.

All Bible quotes taken from the English Standard Version

I Don’t Know What to Do!

Prayer (2)Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know what to do?  You’ve tried to straighten things out but regardless of your efforts things seem hopeless. All you want is relief, so you ask the simple question, “Now what do I do?”

In 2 Chronicles 20, Jerusalem is surrounded, and Jehoshaphat knows that he is powerless to stop the enemy. What did he do? In 20.6-11, he reminds God of all His promises and then in 20.12 he prays, “…we know not what to do, but our eyes are on you!” He didn’t look at the size of his problem, he looked to the One Who is greater than any problem and trusted Him to take care of everything.

Jehoshaphat gives us a great example to follow. Before trying to fix things, put out fires, or clear our name we need to pray, “Father, I don’t know what to do but I am looking to You.”  This prayer reminds me of a song we sang growing up:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

It is amazing how simply looking to Jesus puts everything into perspective.

Don’t know what you’re going to do next? Try looking to Jesus!

Knowing God

Knowing God is more than knowing about Him; it is a matter of dealing with Him as He opens up to you, and being dealt with by Him as He takes knowledge of you. Knowing about Him is a necessary precondition of trusting in Him, but the width of our knowledge about Him is no gauge of our knowledge of Him…What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we have in life? To know God. What is the eternal life that Jesus gives? To know God. What is the best thing in life? To know God. What in humans gives God most pleasure? Knowledge of himself. – J.I. Packer

Things to Remember When People Leave the Church

http://gracewaymedia.com/_Journey_with_Jesus_b-5731.htmlOn Tuesday of this week I posted an article “Benefits To Not Changing Churches.” It was written by Dr. Dean Shriver, Pastor of Intermountain Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He gave us six benefits for staying in our current church.

Today, I want to post an article I found at Sermoncentral.com by Gregg Surratt entitled “When People Leave: 4 Lessons in Rejection from Jesus.” It is great advice for pastors, as well as church members, to keep in mind when your friends and family move on to another church.

I was reading John 6 the other day and the headline above verse 60 screamed out at me: “Many disciples desert Jesus.” I wondered how that made him feel. Seriously. Go with me there.

I know he was God. And I know he knew in advance who would be staying and who would be leaving. But I also know he was human like me, capable of human emotions even when he knew the outcome. Like when his friend Lazarus died. He knew that he was going to raise him from the dead, but the shortest verse in the Bible says that “Jesus wept” anyway. He cried. Like I cried when my best friend died in a car wreck. It makes me feel better to know that he was capable of feeling what I feel.

So how did he feel when disciples started bailing?

You get the feeling that these weren’t just faces in the crowd. By this time, the crowds had grown extremely large. He has just finished a miracle of feeding at least 4,000 people. That’s the second time he’d done that one. People were so desperate to see him that they literally chased him across a lake. When some of them misunderstood something he taught, they started grumbling about it. Some of the crowd decided that he was getting a little too full of himself, and they started to leave. The murmuring grew until many of those close to him, his disciples, decided to quit following. They weren’t just faces, and you get the feeling that they didn’t go quietly.

How did he feel? How did he process it?

At that point, he turned to the ones that he is closest to, the Twelve, and he asked, “Are you going to leave, too?” Hit the pause button. What are the emotions of those words? Words are never spoken in a vacuum. There is always texture and feeling and context. What were his? What was he thinking?

Honestly, we don’t know. He’s God, and we are not. But I think we can learn some things from Jesus about a healthy process when people leave.

Be secure in the Father’s love.

There was never any doubt in Jesus’ mind about whether or not the Father loved him. I’ve got to believe that he knew his worth had nothing to do with how many were at the synagogue this Sabbath as compared to a year ago. The echo of the words of his baptism,“This is my son, and I am really pleased with him,” can’t be underestimated. A friend told me recently that our first thoughts every morning should focus on how much our Father loves us. Everyone else may think you are a jerk, but hey, what difference does it really make if God loves you?

Try to play for an audience of one.

Jesus says in verse 38, “I have come to do the will of God who sent me, not what I want.” There’s a lot of pressure in trying to please everyone. As the crowd grows, there will be more voices clamoring for your attention and potentially becoming offended if you don’t play their hand. One is a much less stressful number.

Learn to process it with your inner circle.

Even Jesus didn’t go at it alone. In response to his question, Peter says, “Where are we going to go? You have the words of life.” You need people like that. “I’ve got your back” type of people. Sure, you need some who will tell you when you’ve got spinach in your teeth, but you also need a few “I’m not going anywhere, boss” types for situations like these. Do you have people like that in your inner circle? Do you have an inner circle?

Trust in God’s sovereignty.

Jesus knew ahead of time who would leave and who would stay. You and I don’t. It would be a great gift to have. It would certainly save time and a lot of grief. You may not know, but God does. And according to Romans 8:28, he’ll weave it into the plan in a way that serves both his and your best interest.

The bottom line: When people leave for whatever reason, God’s got your back. What else do you really need?

Question for pastors: How does Jesus’ example help?

Question for church members: Does your pastor know you’ve got his/her back?

To read the article from the original site follow this link: “When People Leave”