Category Archives: Fear of the Lord

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 5

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: -Isaiah 29:13, KJV

close up of paper against black background

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We must be careful how we handle the Word of God. I mean both senses of the term:

  • How do we handle Scripture? Do we read into it what we think it says? Do we read passages out of context or claim promises never meant for anyone but to whom they were made? Do we use Scripture to condemn everyone who disagrees with us or to keep people “in line”? All the while we say, “God is great. I love God.” But we are keeping God in a nice, tidy box that we can control.
  • How do we handle Jesus? Do we treat Him like a monster? Do we treat Him as if He is aloof? Do we treat Him like a genie or vending machine, expecting Him to grant all of our wishes and desires, especially when we ask/demand them? Do we treat Him like a doting grandmother, thankful for the gifts He gives, but ignoring Him most of the time? All the while we say, “Jesus is great. I love Jesus.” But we are using Jesus to control others or only get what we want.

John lived in the wilderness, ate bugs and honey, and only had one outfit. He did not tolerate using God and His Word incorrectly, but he did point us back to the wonder of God’s works, as Isaiah did:

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. -Isaiah 29:14

We cannot forget that though we rebel against God in many ways, even as we call on His name, He does marvelous things: Most importantly, He came to save us from our rebellion and make us more like Himself. We can try and reason Him away, twist His words and actions, but He is come and has made Himself known. And we cannot stand against Him.

And when Jesus returns, we shall be made like Him – holy, blameless, and glorified, able to give Him all glory for eternity.

Lord, help us to come to Your Word humbly and correctly, to align our thoughts and emotions with Yours, to follow Your will and not our own.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. -Matthew 3:5-6

angelic architecture art baptism

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With repentance comes confession. Even in the time of Advent, when we look forward to the coming Messiah, we must remember the importance of confession:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. -James 5:16, KJV

As we prepare for the Messiah, it has to include the preparation of our hearts, as we confess our sins to God and to others and are baptized.

God in Heaven, we have sinned against You. As we confess, we thank You that You are faithful to forgive.


Those Walking in Darkness and Death

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. –Ecclesiastes 9:5, ESV

Today is Reformation Day, the anniversary of Martin Luther igniting the Reformation movement away from the Roman Catholic Church.

This means it is also Halloween.

And you know what? Halloween can be fun.

Yes. There is a lot of paganism in the history of this day.

Yes. This is a high holiday for many Wiccans and other pagans, attempting to connect with spirits and even demons.

Most people today do NOT participate in that.

While over the next few days many cultures either worry about or celebrate deceased loved ones visiting this world, Ecclesiastes 9:5 reminds us that the dead have no real concern for this world.

Either they are headed for destruction and railing at God, or they are with Christ and worshiping Him.

We try to show we are not afraid of death by dressing up as (un)dead things and people, and we sometimes claim we are remembering the dead. At best we are remembering a shadow, only the best or the worst of someone. In truth, the memory is just that: a shadow.

And most people – if they are honest – are afraid of death. Some want to be reunited with lost loved ones, but they rarely know what they are wishing for.

This is starting to get long, so let us remember:

  • the fear of death is misplaced,
  • the memories of the dead are never perfect,
  • and the afterlife will be nothing like any of fully expect (if it all correct).

Instead, it is:

  • the fear of the Lord that gives us hope for the afterlife;
  • and the dead may not remember much of this life, but the Lord forgets our sins if we are found in Christ and brought into everlasting life.

And instead of getting caught up in the where and why of the history of Halloween, may we focus on sharing the truth of Life with those in this world who are still walking in darkness and death.


Not About Politics, But There Are Sides

An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked. –Proverbs 29:27 KJV

I was ready to write about politics, and angry partisanship. And this verse certainly can speak to partisan politics.

However, I just want to speak the truth:

There are only two sides in this historical and eternal battle: with God or against Him (Matthew 12:30).

There are no other ways or sides, and this leads to many people seeing Christians, and by extension God, as narrow-minded (which is true, to a point – Matthew 7:14), even evil, for saying not everyone is good or can get to God their own way.

But, if Jesus truly is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then there is no other path to God (John 14:6).

If you do what God calls evil, you are a wicked sinner. But if you repent of your evil ways (change the way you think and act – Romans 12:1-2) and believe Jesus died for your punishment to cover your wickedness and rose again to life, then you are on His side (Acts 2:38-39).

To refuse the leading of the Holy Spirit to believe in Christ is choose to be against God (Matthew 12:31, John 8:44).


Trying Not To Be Fools With His Words

Many readers of Proverbial Thought may enjoy the thoughts we share each day.

Maybe you do not understand some our thought process.

I for one do enjoy writing out these devotional thoughts for others to enjoy, but it weighs heavy on my heart.

For starters, read Proverbs 26. It will only take a few minutes. What really strikes me is the number of verses about the wastefulness, follies, and even dangers of fools speaking proverbs.

We are basically putting it put there that we are responsible for affecting the way people think!

In fact, when I was a new believer of Jesus Christ, I knew I should “do my part” and read at least something in the Bible. I chose James, for “not being too long and possibly boring me, nor too short and making me look lazy.”

Ouch. This was the first thing that stood out to me (in my NIV Bible at the time):

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

I understood that to teach others means I would be scrutinized myself, both by other people and by God.

That terrified little 16-year-old me! (Even at six feet tall at that time …)

Honestly, it should be intimidating to all of us.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

God has an expectation. If you teach others about the Word of God – which all believers should in some way – you are expected to know what it says and how to explain it adequately.

This is the struggle we deal with every day for Proverbial Thought, and for many of us, who are pastors and ministry leaders, as a daily concern.

Therefore, we write to help others (you, dear reader!) to be better equipped to share your faith, even if mostly about the Proverbs.

If you are a follower of the Lord, you should be able to share the reason for your faith. Use any tool available to you to grow, starting with regular Bible study, researching what others have said, and meeting with fellow believers (by going to church, attending Bible studies, meeting together just to talk, and serving togwther).

Hopefully, we have played a role in your growth and not written foolishly.


Beware of Crying out for Change

Yesterday, Anthony talked about the craziness of politics as of late.

Consider this a sequel! (Just like other sequels, a lot of people may be upset!)

My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? -Proverbs 24:21‭-‬22, KJV

What I mean is that we have been seeing a decade of change. Leaders throughout the Western world have been calling for change based on who has been in power.

This was most clearly seen with both Barack Obama and then Donald Trump. (Did you notice that both talked about making America respectable to some group, only in different ways?)

As Anthony demonstrated, the different sides have made a habit of vilifying each other, and whoever’s side is not in power looks for any reason to change that status, especially by removal of the the big leader (in our case, the president).

Scripture shows us, though, that we should strive to help our leaders be and do the best (within God’s moral decrees, of course.)

If all you do is cry out for change and rarely if ever actually do anything, you are not helping. This is similar to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1: you are like a clanging cymbal (like the neighbor who practices his drums at 3:00 AM.)

You can disagree with them. You can do things to help the situation.

But if all you do is complain about who is (or was) in power and cause further division, you are part of the problem and dishonoring God. (This a great time on the true meaning of using the Lord’s name in vain.)

Remember: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1‭-‬2)

But we are also reminded to fear God. He is the unchanging One who has established what is right and true, and He is always in control.


No Reason for Envy

Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. – Proverbs 23:17

Testimonies

I love to hear stories of how God has changed people’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thrills to hear how the Lord can take a dreadful, hell-bound sinner and turn him into a saint in all respects.

But sometimes testimonies can turn into a glorification of past sin. Sometimes a well-meaning story of God’s grace can make the average person wish they’d taken a chance at being bad.

Like,

“I once was a drug dealer and had everything money could buy. I woke up with champagne and girls, drove fast all day, and then partied all night until I passed out in the arms of another supermodel. Then Jesus saved me.”

Sorta makes becoming a believer a little anti-climactic, doesn’t it?

The Truth

What we need more of is the truth – not just the truth about the consequences of sin, but the literal joys of following Christ and honoring the Father.

So often we are bombarded by images of those who are doing everything the Bible condemns and having fun while they’re doing it. All of us want to have fun and enjoy life, don’t we? Therefore, these images tend to make a lot of us envious.

But if we had more stories of the joy, peace, and awestruck wonder that accompanies the one who walks in the fear of the Lord, the fleeting pleasures of sin wouldn’t even be worth talking about.