Archive for the ‘Pastor’s Corner’ Category

Fear is a funny thing. Jumping out of planes and off of cliffs, for a fearful thrill, only to land safely with a parachute is kinda odd. Fear is also sold in movies and during certain times of the year it is the pinnacle form of entertainment. Even so, fear is a mysterious thing that humans are attracted to, but at the same timefear safely seek to avoid it if at all possible.

We then come to a phrase highly common among religious folk, ‘The fear of the Lord,’ which is a phrase few people write about, and even less understand. A friend, who is an avid bookstore-dweller, jokingly quips that a book store titled, “Fearful: Teaching The Fear of The Lord, positively wouldn’t be a NewYork Times bestseller.

Honestly, I’m not sure how well I truly understand ‘the fear of the Lord’. The Scriptures teach that the fear of the Lord is a good thing. Yet it is hard to think of fear as good. Most often the concept of the biblical fear of the Lord is diminished by making it less than what we read. In Hebrews 10:31, where we read that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Or again in Hebrews 4:1, we read the command to fear is part of being recipients of the promise of God, lest we should fail to attain it. Those passages seem to make ‘the fear of the Lord’ a rather enigmatic statement.

Godly and biblical fear is not the same thing as terror and shaking in our boots. Psalm 19:9, teaches, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever…” Psalm 34:11, teaches that the fear of the Lord is something to be learned, “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Genesis 15:1, teaches that there is a manner that we aren’t to fear, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

John Piper writes with clarity on this matter, “‘The fear of the Lord,’ is a very peaceful and secure feeling. In fact, fearing the Lord means counting on our fellowship with God to make us happier in the future than anything else could. Romans 15:4 says that the whole Bible was written to persuade us that this is true: Staying close to God and not running away into sin is the most hope-full way to live. Promise after promise verifies it: “the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him” (Psalm 25:14). “How abundant is your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear you” (Psalm 31:19). “The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 33:18). “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). “As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11, 17). “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). “He fulfills the desire of all who fear him” (Psalm 145:19).”

All in all it would do the follower of Christ well to meditate upon the fear of the Lord, upon what it means, and how it might become engrained into the essence of our personhood. It might also do us well to understand the mysterious reality of fear in the heart of humanity and how it is a large part of how man relates to God.

Moldable

Posted: March 30, 2016 in Blog, Pastor's Corner
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Being moldable in the hands of The Maker—is a good idea, which goes along with the whole new years resolution idea; and yes three months into 2016 and I’m still talking about resolutions for the Year.

Being moldable clay in the hands of the potter isn’t a bad idea. Being malleable in the makers hand to be made into something awesome, is a great notion. It is common then to bring biblical passages with potter and clay imagery as justification for staying pliable in God’s hands, so that He can, again, make you into something awesome. You know what I mean, being made all Jesusy and what not.

It seems that this common notion leads to a common conclusion, that is, our job is to remain moldable. However the last time I was around a potter, even though I crushed an unbaked cup, which surprises no one, I noticed something important—the clay was inanimate and kept moldable by the potter. Great efforts were taken to keep the clay perfect for making the pottery.

What mustn’t be lost in biblical potter and clay images, is that God in His sovereign might, takes clay and fashions it as He pleases.  Jeremiah 18, uses the pottery imagery as a call to repentance for the people of God. God’s people were not walking God’s covenant by faith. Potter and clay imagery is a warning that God has absolute authority to judge man as He pleases; at other times it is a statement of man’s subservient stance in relation with God.

Even so, the concept of being moldable isn’t without biblical backing, and it is spoken more negatively and in terms of repentance. What will happen to the stiff neck sinner? One who doesn’t respond to the Word of God in repentance? Judgment or sudden brokenness without healing is the result; which sounds like judgment, and sounds like the need to be pliable, or repent, is the superior option. Proverbs 29:1, “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Let’s not sugar coat the obvious and what is commanded and warned in the Scriptures. The concept of being moldable is akin to the idea of repentance. Repentance is always in conjunction with faith in Jesus Christ. What happens to hardened and stiff things when they are worked and shaped? They either become moldable and malleable, or they break in a sudden and brittle fashion.

During this Year have you been malleable? Have your resolutions to live or do a certain thing taken shape in your life? Will you allow the Word of the Lord to shape you?  Will you be characterized by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?

Most often I find myself a day late and a dollar short. Meaning, not only was I late to meet the opportunity at hand or deadline, but I was also inadequately supplied to actually succeed even if I was on time. Sounds like most of my construction projects lately—always missing a tool, always short on material, never enough time; a day late and a dollar short. Sometimes this is the result of poor planning, other times it is simply a matter of life’s ever changing ebb and flow.

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Over the years I’ve learned not to let that bother me. I see those supposed failures as divine appointments, provide by God to work for his glory. The interruptions of life, are life. Everything going according to plan would be really awful in some ways, because we’d start to believe that we are in control, when it is only God who sits in the heavens doing all that he pleases. Let that sink in for a few minutes.

 

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All of that to say, this article might be a day late and a dollar short. I mean, New Year’s resolutions are supposed be in by now, submitted to the teacher or you get an incomplete. Giving up and waiting till next year is the only option for some, but resolutions are what I want to discuss. Because I do not want to simply file those little things away and then quickly forget them. But here we are, in the first couple of weeks in January and here I am still asking—What have you resolved to do this year? And will that resolution carry through? Living purposefully shouldn’t be something that only happens during the first few days or weeks of the year.

Each year we should take time to resolve, in Christ, to live by faith in a certain way. This doesn’t mean to make a resolution and then forget it, but it does mean to live life with purposeful intent. It is never a day late and a dollar short to resolve to live as wise, making best use of the time. So what are your resolutions in Christ? How have you purposed this year to redeem the time?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17