Gray Hair

Recently I had occasion to need the services of a government office. The clerk who waited on me was a young woman perhaps college age. She was politely scornful as she answered my questions and I went away feeling very despised.

The Lord instructed the Israelites through Moses to honor their elders by standing (not sitting) in their presence. To honor gray haired people is to honor the Creator, our Lord God. That is a simple way to be respectful but the fallen nature resists acknowledging someone else as superior.

Leviticus 19:32 You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.

A young person has hair-trigger reactions and strength. An older person is slower to act because he/she stops to think and consider their actions. This is especially true of those who follow Jesus. Older people also demonstrate wisdom gained from a lifetime of experiences.

Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; It is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Older people value life as much as younger people do. They acknowledge their waning strength, but they realize that they still have much of great value to share with their children and grandchildren. In the mobility of today’s restless society many youth and working adults forfeit the treasure of wisdom their elders have to share. I loved my grandparents and considered my maternal grandfather the most holy man I ever knew. I realized that he was just a man subject to errors, but I loved and respected him as a man beloved by his Lord. Even as a seven year old I held him in high regard. 

Psalm 71:9, 18 ampc 9 Cast me not off nor send me away in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent and my powers fail.

18 Yes, even when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not, [but keep me alive] until I have declared Your mighty strength to [this] generation, and Your might and power to all that are to come.

The following passage describes older followers of Jesus as He sees them. Godly elders are extremely fruitful in their lives and relationships. A number of years ago some highly educated professors and skilled professionals organized a Christian university and made their school known. It operated successfully a number of years until some less educated, less experienced individuals became jealous and put the elders out of business in a lawsuit. What a loss to society at large and what a shame for those energetic older persons.

Psalm 9 :12-15 ampc 12 The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible].

13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14 [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment].

15 [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

God loves and honors the elderly. This is clear by the promises He has given to them in the Book of Isaiah. I have prayed these promises for myself and others that I know and realize that they need God’s favor and protection.

Isaiah 46:4 ampc Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.

To sum up how the elderly need and want respect and courtesy, consider this admonition that Jesus gave His listeners, to be respectful of everyone as His representative. Actions have consequences. Consider your actions toward others carefully because they will come back to bite or bless you.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

The Last Days

II Timothy 3 (AMPclassic)

1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].

2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.

3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.

4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.

5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].

I like the Amplified Bible for its use of many synonyms to make the passages clear. There is no doubt about what this passage is addressing. And there is no doubt that the graphic description drawn here is a last days picture.

In the 1980s both parents were working full time and their children were left to be parented by the television. I loved teaching junior high kids because they were beginning to draw away from their parents, and I was a nonparent that they could come to with problems and questions. I sensed the beginnings of disrespect for authority but I wouldn’t allow them to disrespect me. Those junior high school young people are now grandparents. There was a loss of family traditions and family courtesies. As parental discipline was lost, so self-discipline was not taught. Sundays were days to catch up on tasks around the house and socializing. Church was a waste of valuable time, thus even rudimentary religious training was lost and dishonored at home. Today’s society is abundantly reaping what has been sown over these last forty years or more.

If today’s school age children and youth are rebellious and without natural affection, it is because they were not parented according to our Christian heritage. Today’s pastors don’t read passages from the Bible like the one above because they are concerned that their offerings will decline, and perhaps they would. But if the pastors are God’s men and women, they are obligated to present the whole Gospel. The whole Gospel rubs against the carnal, natural man, however, so the church-attender hears about God’s grace and how God loves the sinner. Sinning is okay because Jesus died for the sinner. The Truth of the Word is twisted to fit the sinner rather than calling the sinner to repentance and purity. Jesus called His followers to be holy as He is holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

I was not hopeful regarding the call to prayer held on the Capitol Mall the last of September. Many big names of ministers, bands and singers do not make a prayer meeting. But I was so excited to hear the fiery message by Jonathan Cahn. He didn’t mince words or withhold Truth. He addressed both pastors and lay people, both political leaders and ordinary citizens. I am so grateful that God found a man who would cry out Truth.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

We as Americans will surely lose our beautiful nation if we do not come back to God with serious sorrow for our sins, and turn back to our Lord. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and we are obviously struggling with death as a nation.

I urge you to listen to Rabbi Cahn’s message. Listen carefully. And listen to the small voice inside you as the Holy Spirit witnesses to the Truth of the message. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6F9Z1AyKRM

Revival in America?

Last week I had an appointment with my doctor to plan a schedule for exercise at a physical therapy venue for this winter. But physical therapy is now limited to two weeks and no long term or seasonal therapy is accepted or allowed. Last late winter while the Covid-19 scare was at its height, I was not able to get adequate exercise and developed a serious loss of muscle in my right hip so that I could only walk with severe pain. I have worked that pain out enough to walk a mile every morning with no pain although my lower body isn’t as flexible as it was formerly.

During the conversation with the doctor, I complained about the unreasonable mandate that the residents in the senior high rise where I live being forbidden to talk to each other. Social distancing and masks are required but we also are not to talk to each other. Our entry lounge is marked off with yellow tape and no one is allowed to enter or even sit down however briefly. No visitors may enter the building for any reason without legal documentation. Please understand that this is NOT a nursing home or shelter care facility. This is a regular apartment building for normal, active people of retirement age.

This type of isolation is unheard of and extremely unhealthy. I haven’t heard of this happening anywhere but right here in my own building, so when my doctor commented that this was a common situation in several neighboring states as well, I was appalled. Having had some traumatic experiences in China during the 20-some years I taught English there, I understood the violence here and it’s ultimate purpose. I was in China during the Tiananmen Massacre and experienced electrical blackouts, burning buses blocking major streets, students dropping from lack of food and water in their demonstrations. I have been incredulous at how quickly and smoothly lawlessness has overwhelmed this nation.

I’m writing this in my blog for two reasons. The most obvious reason is that we must care deeply for our freedoms and protect them as best we can by exposing what is happening to each of us personally. Secondly, as Christians who have a personal acquaintance with the Triune Godhead, we have a responsibility to our Lord to hold high His standard against sin and defilement in our culture. Few do! What a source of disappointment and discouragement cultural Christians are. When I call out the things I see and how I feel about how we seniors are being treated (the better to reduce our numbers) I am treated like I have lost my emotional balance. I have so few relationships to begin with, that when those who know me avoid me it’s painful.

Some of the national prayer events only lure the cultural Christians to their Traditionally correct Christian events through big-name singers and musicians and other entertainment. Prayer? If the event was only for prayer, who would attend? My God, have mercy on once-Christian America. As happened during 9/11, people will turn to Jesus in a moment and in a moment leave Him when it appears that He has saved us from further death and destruction. I am afraid the same superficial behavior will repeat itself once again.

Once more we have a strong warning that does not compromise in the voice of Jonathan Cahn. People didn’t listen to him then. Will they listen to him this time? In mercy God will give us another window of time to repent, confess and forsake our sins and defilement. It is not merely our wicked political and religious leaders, it is us, the everyday citizens, who need to get serious with our Creator God in a long term commitment that extends into eternity – the Heaven or Hell that nobody believes in any longer in this enlightened age. After we’ve gotten ourselves in relationship with God we will be in a good position to deal with the rot in our government and religious leaders.

Ancient Israel surged up and down in their service to God until at last they lost their beloved nation and were taken into captivity. God, humble us before You, that You may have mercy on us and save us from evil.

Loving the Unloved

When I was in college I met a friend who was friendly and touchy-feely. One day as we were talking she put her hand on my hand and I came unglued. The only touch I had ever experienced in my life that I could remember was violent, so this person’s touch was off the grid for me. She wanted to know why I was crying but I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t put words to the experience.

I grew up on the farm. My siblings and I enjoyed the freedom to climb the trees or glide across the haymow on the hay pulley. Most farms had a silo where corn stalks with some grain was processed and stored as winter feed for the cattle. The silo was a round, very tall enclosure with no windows and only one door at the bottom. The top was somewhat open to allow heat from the compressed silage to rise so it wouldn’t catch fire.

When my friend put her hand on mine, in my mind’s eye I could see an earthquake shaking the silo and cracks forming in the walls, weakening the structure.

That silo was my heart, shut off from any demonstration of love. I was terrified of love. It felt like the violation of my person.

Recently I have been getting acquainted with a retired single lady who raises dogs for sale as a way of supporting herself. I don’t care for small dogs but when one of her females had puppies I inquired in an email about how they were getting along. To my surprise she replied that they were her business. I began to pray and ask the Holy Spirit how I might bring peace to our relationship.

The silo memory came to me and that brought understanding. It is one thing to love and care about a friend. But to care about the things they care about is a demonstration of love. I cared about her welfare and the dogs were her source of support as well as a source of affection in her aloneness. Apparently I violated the boundary leading into her heart just as that friend violated my inner boundary long ago.

Love can also mean a loss of freedom when a person is obligated to perform for a reward. That brings the same kind of terror. Several years ago I met a homeless woman and invited her to stay in my spare bedroom. I left her to fill her time as she wished because homeless people are often rolling stones and prefer that life style. However, when my friends found out about my guest, they brought groceries and other things they thought she needed or would like. That meant obligation was close behind and she couldn’t deal with the bondage, so she slipped away without being seen.

Love is a very precious thing that must be handled with sensitivity and openhandedness, leaving the recipient free to accept or not. Exploitation should never be a motive for love. The reward for love is watching another person bud and slowly blossom while learning to trust. Isn’t that what Jesus does? He loves unconditionally, leaving the response to us. When we accept His love and learn to trust Him, the relationship grows as we are filled with awe of kindness we never dreamed existed.

Are You Flawless?

Matthew 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Perfect: Teleioo  Teleiotes  Teleios

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon Strong’s Number: 5048

Original Word teleioo from (5046) Definition: to make perfect, complete; to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end; to complete (perfect); add what is yet wanting in order to render a thing full; to be found perfect; to bring to the end (goal) proposed; to accomplish; bring to a close or fulfillment by event….   

Bibliography Information: Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Teleioo”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. . 1999.

Greek lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” These files are public domain.

I grew up in a church that taught Christian perfection. Even as a young child I understood that it was impossible to be perfect – flawless – because I was surrounded by imperfect people whether Christian or nonChristian. My Grandpa was as near perfect as anyone I knew, but he had his flaws.

Perfection of humanity comes through keeping the law. And we had rules! I remember going to a beauty school to get the ends of my hair trimmed. The student was a beginner and I ended up with very short hair. When one of the ladies from my church saw me she was simply horrified – and I learned an important lesson. “Rules do not a Christian make.” Since then I can smell a traditional Christian a mile away!! Traditional Christians may sometimes actually know Jesus but they are primarily rule-keepers.

The admonition Jesus gave about being perfect was taken literally years ago. But these days we have access to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Concordance and Dictionary either on-line or in print. As I’ve shown above, it’s easy to find the definition of the word “perfect”. Flawless is not a definition of perfect, but it is still a very high goal to aspire to – maturity.

Job as an example

Job in Obadiah 1:1 is said to be “perfect;” that is, not holy as God, or “sinless” – for fault was afterward found with him: Job 9:20; Job 42:6. Job was not merely a pious man in one instance, but uniformly. He was consistent in every situation. This is the meaning in Matthew 5:48. Be not religious merely in loving your friends and neighbors, but let your piety be shown in loving your enemies; imitate God; let your piety be “complete, proportionate, regular.” This every Christian may be; this every Christian must be.

What are some indications of maturity?

1. Marriage is a commitment for the life of the man and woman involved. The marriage relationship is used to illustrate our relationship to Jesus. Feelings are shallow, but a commitment is for as long as both parties shall live.    

2. A mature person is secure in his identity. Unfortunately, few Christians are secure in knowing who they are in Jesus. That is, they quickly shrink in the face of criticism, and swell in the face of praise. Knowing Jesus loves me is my Rock. He will never fail me or let me down (Heb. 13:5-6 AMP)

3. A mature person thinks of him/herself less often than an insecure person does. The mature person is confident of his abilities and doesn’t feel the need to showcase himself. The mature individual begins to see the needs of others and reach out a helping hand.   

4. A mature person has learned to grow his spirit to have dominion over his soul – to submit his spirit to God regardless of his soulish feelings. He has learned to develop his character, his values, and not to cave to superficial feelings. Maturity produces principled individuals.

5. A mature person says “thank you” often. Thanking Father God is the foundation for worship and adoration. Thankfulness to Father God spills over into one’s human relationships.

6. A mature person is teachable. Ecclesiastes 7:6 It is better to be corrected by a wise man, than to be deceived by the false praise of the foolish.

7. A person who knows his strengths and weaknesses doesn’t need to brag or compete because he is at peace with who he is. That self-acceptance is humility.    

Below are some Scriptures that illustrate how the Greek word for perfection is used in the New Testament.

Luke 13:32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

John 17:4 “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”

Hebrews 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Hebrews 11:40 because God had provided something better for us (added: Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the cross), so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:

Such a simple statement but with profound meaning – “whoever keeps His word”.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

Resources:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/teleioo.html

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/5-48.htm

Prophetic Intercession

Growing up in a traditional church, I never heard of a prophetic intercessor. I sensed that my prayers were different and they were often answered just as I had prayed them. In simplicity I prayed from God’s word and kept a journal of what and how I prayed so that I could know when and how they were answered.

I didn’t share my way of praying although I treasured it. When I went to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in China, my ability was observed among those I fellowshipped with and I was placed with other intercessors and honored as such. That was new to me, and the responsibility/accountability increased.

When I shared Scriptures that I took to give me authority to decree God’s will over a person or situation there were brothers and sisters present to assure me that I was in error. God didn’t say that I could decree a thing. He didn’t say I could speak something into existence. Arguing did no good, so I kept my faith to myself except in company with those who also believed.

As I matured in my walk and new understanding of the value of prayer, I only became more confident of God’s leading. Not everyone is called to prophetic intercession although most Christians will experience it occasionally. It is a very intimate relationship with almighty God because you are praying His will into existence. To do that you need to know His character and agree with His desires.

For example, David decided to build God a Temple. God was pleased with David’s consideration of His heart, but He told David that because he was a  man of war, He would allow David’s son who sat on the throne of Israel after David’s death to build the Temple. But He let David collect all the materials for God’s house.

A prophetic intercessor knows God’s heart and His unexpressed desires so that he/she can speak things that reveal the Lord and express His desires. Also, as noted in Job 22:30, the prophetic intercessor must walk in purity if he/she is to gain intimacy with the Holy One. Prophetic intercessors are known to be solitary individuals because most of their time is spent in communion with the Lord. Praying Hyde and Andrew Murray come to mind.

Early in my life I loved Jesus and wanted to be completely His. As a preteen I told the Lord that I wanted to stay unmarried and committed to Him only. I knew that marriage meant preparing meals having babies, nurturing a relationship with a spouse, etc. And I wanted to be totally God’s. I have stayed true to that desire with the help of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you it is much harder than I could have known except for having walked through it. It’s not so much the domestic needs as the need for human fellowship. We were created to be social creatures, so to live a solitary life goes against human nature. The Holy Spirit knows that very well and I have found that He presses in close to me when I’m feeling lonely. His presence supports and strengthens me.

There aren’t many people who answer the call but there are some who do, and they are priceless to the Body of Christ. They may seem unsociable but that isn’t the case. The intimacy of their relationship with the beautiful Savior means more to them than they can put language to.

Below are some of my favorite verses about the power and authority of prophetic intercessors and below the Scriptures are a couple of links to articles about intercessors.

Job 22:28-30 AMPC

28 You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] shall shine upon your ways.

29 When they make [you] low, you will say, [There is] a lifting up; and the humble person He lifts up and saves.

30 He will even deliver the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.

Isaiah 44:26 AMPC

26 [The Lord] Who confirms the word of His servant and performs the counsel of His messengers, Who says of Jerusalem, She shall [again] be inhabited, and of the cities of Judah, They shall [again] be built, and I will raise up their ruins,

Isaiah 45:11 nkjv

11 Thus says the Lord, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

Amos 3:7 AMPC

7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.

Links to articles about intercessors:

https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/43204-where-are-all-the-old-school-intercessors

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/god-s-watchmen.html

Praying for the Lost

The deepest wounds are inflicted by those who ought to love us the most but do not. Forgiveness is necessary. It’s like cleaning out a stinking, infected wound before pouring in medication for healing.

Notice in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 that Jesus added two verses after the Prayer that are too often conveniently overlooked – about forgiveness being necessary for salvation.

Matthew 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

When forgiveness reigns in our hearts, then Love can begin to take root and grow. You may never say a word about what’s going on inside of you, but those around you will certainly take note of the change in your attitude.

There are many Scriptures about praying for salvation for others. One of my favorites is a passage in Isaiah 45:1-3.

Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him, and I will unarm and ungird the loins of kings to open doors before him, so that gates will not be shut.

If God could use a heathen king to speak to His own people, He will surely use me to speak His word in today’s world.

2 I will go before you and level the mountains [to make the crooked places straight]; I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron.

God’s intercessors are scarce and extremely precious to Him.

3 And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.

In the third verse notice that God promises you the treasures of darkness (in the heart of the person you’re praying for); there is hidden riches in that dark heart that only He knows exists, Through your prayer God will get glory and praise. That kind of prayer pleases Him very much.

John 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The Light in this verse is Jesus. The darkness is the realm of those who do not know Jesus. The word comprehend means to be without; I.e. the darkness cannot overcome the Light.

I often ask God to shine His glorious overwhelming Light into the darkness of places and people who need His awesome, pure and holy Light. Ask Him to shine His life-giving Light into your city, county and state government offices;  your local school classrooms and administrative offices. Ask Him to shine His awesome Light into lawyers’ and politicians’ offices. Ask Him to shine brightly in abandoned buildings and places used by those involved in the dark arts. God’s Light is only limited by your lack of imagination, so stir up your spirit to ask Him to confront evil where ever it may be found. He knows all the hiding places. But you must be pure before expecting your prayers to bear fruit.

What to Do in A Flood

Isaiah 32:20 Happy and fortunate are you who cast your seed upon all waters [when the river overflows its banks; for the seed will sink into the mud and when the waters subside, the plants will spring up; you will find it after many days and reap an abundant harvest], you who safely send forth the ox and the donkey[ to range freely].

Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

2 Timothy 4:2-3 Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, [whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,

These three Scripture passages were my prayer while I was teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in China. God’s word is truly His holy word, powerful and enduring. God is pleased to hear His children use His word in their prayers and conversations with those who don’t yet know Him.

At Christmas and Easter I always took a full class period to tell the story of Jesus’ birth and death, and His resurrection. My students told their friends and students from other schools came to “visit” my classroom on those special days. I was scattering the precious seed on the flood not knowing when or where the seed might take root and bring forth fruit.

I still do that today – scatter the seed of the word whenever possible. The Holy Spirit brings that word back to the hearers’ remembrance when the time is right.

Fear of God

The fear of God is a major theme throughout the Old Testament:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline – Proverbs 1:7.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding – Psalm 111:10.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding – Proverbs 9:10.

“Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” – Jeremiah 5:22).

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him – Psalm 33:8.

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name – Psalm 86:11.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man – Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever”- Psalm 118:4.

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love – Psalm 147:11.

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” – Revelation 14:7.

We are told in Scripture to fear God. The word translated as “fear” has various meanings in the Hebrew and Greek, and while I am not a scholar of these languages, I understand the issue of fearing a Personality that is limitless in every part of His Triune Being. His very presence demands serious respect. To think that everything we see and hear and sense comes from the Creator-God, we realize His majesty. That’s the beginning of learning who He is.

The next aspect of getting to know God is understanding the willingness of the Father to sacrifice His only Son as payment of our debt of sin. Jesus was under no obligation to buy us back from satan! He was motivated by a desire to reestablish a relationship with us. That’s why He made Adam and Eve to begin with. And He gave them free will to make choices so that His communion with them was not forced. He wanted intimacy by common consent. That makes my choice and my motive critical to my relationship with Him.     

The “Fear of God” and the “Love of God” thus go hand in hand. My concern is that there is little of this kind of relationship in America today. We call ourselves Christian but our relationship with the almighty God is distant and unsatisfying. Some Christians even say that God no longer works in our lives and societies. There is no sense of fear and awe of the intensely intimate Creator-God.

The fear of God is only the beginning of wisdom. And the walk with One so high and lifted up who humbles Himself to walk with us – there is no word to adequately describe the deep satisfaction and peace and pleasure He gives to those who commit to Him in fear and love who has committed to us His very life’s blood.

Wrath of Man

Until I experienced the massive emotional healing of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), anger was my intimate companion. It is a characteristic of the male gender, but females experience it, too.

Anger seems to be the character of many in the United States at present because of perceived injustices. But anger is not a positive trait and problems can be solved in ways more peacefully and efficiently by those mature enough to express their concerns adequately.

I did a short study from Scripture and Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David to get an idea of God’s view of anger or wrath. The first verse to come to my mind was Psalm 76:10 which I looked up in the Treasury of David.

Psalm 76:10  Surely the wrath of man shall praise you: the remainder of wrath shall you restrain.

The Treasury of David, Psalm 76:10 Exposition “The devil blows the fire and melts the iron, and then the Lord fashions it for his own purposes. Let men and devils rage as they may, they cannot do otherwise than subserve the divine purposes.”

Verse 10. Persecutions tend to exercise our patience, to quicken our devotion, to evidence our zeal and Christian fortitude, and to show to the whole world what love we bear to the truth, and how much we are willing to undergo for the honour of God. Till they have suffered something for it, truth is too apt to grow cheap and be less prized, even by those that are good men in the main; whereas we are apt on the contrary, never to value it at a higher rate, or to be more zealous for it, or to make better use of it, than when it is opposed and persecuted. What more truly beneficial therefore, or tending to the divine glory, than for God, who brings good out of evil, to make use also of the opposers of his truth, to rouse up his servants whom he sees growing more remiss and negligent than they should be, and to suffer such temptations to assault them, by which their drowsy minds may be spurred on into a greater love and zeal for the truth, and a deeper sense of the divine benefit in it, and in general, excited to the more diligent performance of their duty. Richard Pearson. 1684. (edited)

The wrath of wicked men impels them to many violent and forcible attempts upon the people of God to destroy them, and so gives Him occasion to manifest His power in their defense.

It makes them sometimes fit to be His instruments in correcting His people, and so He vindicates Himself from the suspicion of being a patron to sin in them that are nearest to Him, and makes them that hate holiness promote it in His people, and them that intend them the greatest hurt, to do them the greatest good.

It administers occasion to Him for the manifestation of the power of His grace in upholding the spirits of His people and the being of His church in despite of all that enemies can do against them.

It serves very much to adorn God’s most signal undertakings for His people in the world.

It serves to manifest the glory of God’s justice upon His people’s enemies in the day when He rises up to avenge Himself upon them, when He shall stand over them, lashing them with scorpions, and at every blow mind their former cruelties. Here, take that for your inhuman rage against My people at such a place, and that for your barbarous usage of them at such a time. Now see how good it is to be imprisoned, beaten, tortured, burnt, and sawn asunder. Thus the enemies themselves are often constrained to acknowledge with Adoni Bezek the righteous hand of God upon them in the day of inquisition. Condensed from John Warren’s Sermon before Parliament. 1656. (edited)  

Copyright Statement: These files are public domain. An electronic edition is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. Bibliography Information Spurgeon, Charles H. “Commentary on Psalms 76:10”. “C.H. Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David”.

This nation of cultural Christians has become very comfortable in their prosperity. They love to be at ease and enjoy sports and entertainment. But persecution reminds them that Jesus did not come to earth to bring comfort and prosperity. He came to pay the price for our sins and iniquities – a price we could not pay. A price that cost Him everything He had: His home in Heaven and the infinite love of His Father. God the Father could not look upon His Son hanging on the cross, bearing our sins. That’s why Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?!”

If persecution will bring us back to our Savior, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, then persecution is necessary. If the loss of freedoms and the difficulty in earning a daily living will bring us back to our senses, then it is far better to suffer want than to lose our ever-living souls!

Where many Christians have become careless and scorn holiness, persecution will motivate them to turn back to their God and repent and clean up their lives to reflect the purity of the One they claim as their Savior.

Proverbs 27:3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them. 4a Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent,

Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a furious man abounds in transgression.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

James 1:20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.