Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wisdom Resulting From Fear

How do you go about "fearing" God? Psalm 111:10 says that fearing God is the beginning of wisdom and that those who "practice it have a good understanding." Lord, teach me how to practice fearing you. If I practice, that means I spend time working at it. It's something I put effort into, as one would, say, practice an instrument. If "fearing God practice" equals wisdom, Lord, help me practice all day long.
What does it mean to fear? Matthew Henry says, "It is not only reasonable that we should fear God, because his name is reverend and his nature is holy, but it is advantageous to us. It is wisdom...Where the fear of the Lord rules in the heart there will be a constant conscientious care to keep his commandments, not to talk of them, but to do them..."
I suppose , then, the practicing of God-fearing would work itself out in obedience; in checks on certain behaviors, etc. I think it is the conscious act of always keeping God at the forefront of everything I do. It's not just a feeling alone, but it results in actions. In the middle of this conscientiousness, I need to remember that my ability to respond to it perfectly is not found in my own strength, but in the perfect life Jesus lived in my place.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perfect World

In a perfect world there would be no long lines at the post office. Coffee would always turn out just the way you like it and the housework would do itself. All the traffic lights would turn green as you approached them, (except for when you need to fiddle with your GPS and reroute, send a text, or fill out a deposit slip for the bank), and the slow driver in front of you would pull over quickly so you could pass. Nobody would tailgate, and whenever you flicked on your turn signal, drivers would immediately slow down to let you in. The parking spot closest to the entrance would always be available, and no one would ever try to steal it. Each day everything on your agenda would be completed without much effort or thought with plenty of time left over to watch movies, read, or do whatever leisurely thing you wanted. You would have the energy of a five-year old, and the wisdom of a sage. You would always have plenty of money in the bank. Relationships would be smooth. There would be no conflict, and everyone would like you.

We all could go on and on about what we think is the “perfect” world.

But there's no such thing. Not in this life. Our lives are riddled with imperfection. Every human and earthly creation has been tainted by sin. Death and decay is stamped on all of us. We set up false ideals of perfection, and when things go against these ideals we are disappointed, angry, bitter, or discontent. We are constantly fighting the tendency to be a mini-God. We create our perfect world and then become angry when people or circumstances mess it up. We forget that we as Christians are destined for a “better country,” as Hebrews 11:16 talks about. Our spiritual amnesia leads us to grumble and complain when our already decaying earthly home falls apart.

Let's not be surprised or discouraged when our lives here are less than perfect. It's just a reminder not to get too cozy here on earth and that there is something far better in store for us than the less than mediocre world we live in now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's been a long day today. Thank God for naps! I enjoyed one this afternoon and am glad for the rest after arising early, 5:45AM. This is the typical start on Sundays when Matt & I have to play on the worship team. Rehearsal starts at 8AM, but there is much preparation before taking off. Specifically today. I had to prepare an after-church lunch that my husband and I could munch before collaborating with the few who have shown interest in the upcoming Africa mission trip. We leave earlier, as well, because we have to set up Matt's drum set, which takes some extra time.
We plowed through the rehearsal, which included some extra songs for the baptisms scheduled after the main service. After that was the 9:30 "Equipping Hour" study: So Many Questions. I have learned a lot from this study and have found that it has provided me with more encouragement to be bold in my witness for Jesus. I like the empowerment that the material has given. Lord, help me to use this!
P.C. (Pastor Curt) provoked us with a hard-hitting message from John 12:20-26, challenging us to be like the Greeks, who made it their goal to seek out Jesus. Okay, so let me ponder a moment and just think about how I'm going to apply the Word this week. How will I seek Jesus more than I have been? God, help me to get my lazy butt out of bed to spend extra time with you. How about pursuing others and helping them seek Jesus? Who specifically? Will they be both believers and non-believers? Yes, I have some people in mind. How does seeking what's eternal play out in all of my duties and relationships? This life is gone before you know it. What can I do to invest it to the max? God has started a good work in me and will perform it to the end. I believe, and claim that.
The most beautiful thing I saw today was the video clip of the Digo people (filmed during a 2007 mission trip) dancing through the mud streets, carrying cardboard boxes full of Bibles on the tops of their heads. It was the first time the Scriptures were translated into their language, and they were celebrating. So much enthusiasm! I have a shelf full of Bibles and Biblical books that I merely yawn at. I was fighting back tears as I watched. What a precious scene, and a convicting one! How much do I need you, God? Help me realize that it's every hour, every moment that I really do.